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

UNEP Report Urges E-Waste Action, Focuses on China

Posted in Electronic Waste, Recycling, Sustainability, Waste Management by ebalkan on February 26, 2010

A new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report – Recycling – from E-waste to Resources (pdf) –  identifies the growing problem of e-waste internationally. Includes is the finding that, by 2020, computer related e-waste will be four times 2007 levels. More noteworthy still, is that developing countries – namely, India and China – will be the largest depositories for e-waste.

Whereas previous streams of e-waste originated from abroad, often imported under dubious conditions, the growing trend in China is domestically-generated e-waste, as NEEDigest has reported previously. This pattern matches with growing personal wealth and availability of cheap electronic goods and appliances: two factors combining to produce a culture of disposibility previously absent in China.

In the short-term, government policies may be exacerbating this trend. A small appliance-aimed “cash for clunkers”-type program launched in the fall has reportedly resulted in the disposal – and collection – of 2.39 million used home appliances, including televisions, PCs, refrigerators, washing machines, and air-conditioners within only a few months. But, as the UN report alludes and Shanghai Scrap’s Adam Minter has correctly pointed out, “China doesn’t yet have sufficient environmentally-secure capacity for recycling such a large quantity of used appliances.”

But, before we dive into that, let’s get back to the UN report.

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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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