New Energy and Environment Digest 新能源与环保参考

China Diverting Toxic Waste to North Korea, Emerging Information Suggests

Posted in Electronic Waste, Recycling, Waste Management by ebalkan on December 14, 2009

China has taken considerable steps in recent years to address electronic waste management practices unsafe for the individuals involved and harmful to local land and water supplies, as NEEDigest has previously reported.

However, China’s limited electronic waste recycling facilities and swelling consumption patterns has rendered domestic containment of toxic trash a serious problem.

Like China, the US and Europe face this predicament, and for years have exported trash to developing countries in Asia and Africa at a lower cost and with fewer environmental safeguards. It is therefore somewhat unsurprising, but no less disheartening, to find out that China, too, is joining the ranks of countries opting to manage waste by having less developed countries manage it for them – often at considerable health and environmental risks.

The newest recipient country is not in Africa or Southeast Asia, as one might expect.

Rather, it appears that waste is being diverted to North Korea, China’s northeastern neighbor, whose western coast lies directly across from China’s prosperous coastal areas and many port towns. This revelation contradicts certain assumptions that North Korea, its economic development stunted due to a centrally planned economy and isolation from the outside world, was comparatively free from the industrial pollution that beleaguers many of its East and South Asian counterparts.

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Panyu Residents Victorious in Blocking Planned Incinerator, Expected to Meet 30% Recycling Target in Return

Posted in Community, Politics, Public Health, Urban Planning, Waste Management by ebalkan on December 12, 2009

To some, the surge of public action to oppose a planned incinerator in south China’s Panyu city may indicate growing popular environmental awareness, concern and activism in China. To others, the protests are testament to China’s growing urban wealth and the push for “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) movements that often accompany it.

Whether motivated by property values or public health, recent outcries have not been conducted in vain.

Citizen resistance has succeeded in blocking the government’s construction plans, confirmed when district Party secretary Tan Yinghua said in a meeting with local residents yesterday that the entire project would “start from the beginning.” The government pledged transparency and public engagement throughout all steps of the re-planning process, including the environmental assessment, feasibility study, and location decision, according to a report by state-run Xinhua media.

Both foreign and domestic media outlets credit this outcome to the public push back that began last month.

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