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Lessons learned from Huizhou, China's unsuccessful waste-to-energy incinerator project: Assessment and policy recommendations

Zheng Wan, Jihong Chen and Brian Craig

Utilities Policy, 2015, vol. 33, issue C, 63-68

Abstract: The Chinese government has advocated the use of waste-to-energy (WtE) incinerators to manage waste because of their high efficiency, minimal land requirement, and significant impact in terms of reducing solid mass; however, the use of WtE incinerators has been met with strong public resistance. This policy note describes Huizhou's unsuccessful WtE incinerator project. Three specific problems are discussed. First, the use of public-private partnerships to implement such projects has led to lack of transparency and corruption. Second, Huizhou has an inadequate dioxin-control strategy due to less stringent standards than those in the U.S. and Europe, along with poor monitoring practices. Third, China's buffer zone between WtE incinerators and populated areas is just 300 m, even though health impacts can be detected for distances up to 5 km. The case of Huizhou shows that high levels of investment do not necessarily result in advanced operation and management techniques. The lack of openness and transparency in government decision-making and supervision exacerbates the severity of not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) concerns. A number of policy recommendations follow from this case study.

Keywords: Incinerator; Regulation; Policy; Huizhou (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2015.01.002

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