How to address NIMBY issue in China?

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/9 14:18:40

The fierce opposition by local people against a proposed waste incinerator in Yangluo in the Xinzhou district of Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province, is the latest conflict facing NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) opposition. This incident once again shows that garbage disposal is a major issue that must be recognized in China's urbanization process. 

With gentrification and rapid improvement in living standards, the explosive growth in waste generation is expected. Augmenting the capacity to handle garbage is an urgent task. But NIMBY is a global issue which is driven by economic and health concerns. With incinerators nearby, properties could lose value. The potential harm to health is another widely believed risk. Therefore, "it is necessary, but it just can't be built near me" has become a way for people to protect their interests.

Local governments need to understand that any move to build incinerators will inevitably be met with resistance as long as it is likely to affect the economic and health interests of people living nearby. This is not political. No local government should be oblivious of this fact. To build a waste incineration plant, we must adopt safety measures and introduce compensation for harm caused in any way. 

The government should introduce systematic technical provisions in the site selection of waste incineration plants and supervise the choice of site. If the location of a waste incinerator does not meet the parameters stipulated by the state and leads to controversy, those responsible should be held accountable. 

If the incinerator site is in full compliance with national regulations but is still opposed by people, such resistance is unjustified. To prevent mass boycott of incinerators that meet norms, the review of national standards should be scientific and involve the public to build broad social consensus.

Waste disposal is something that all members of society must take an active part in. The government can only play the role of an intermediary. Waste is created by all people and everyone is responsible for its disposal. Waste sorting is imperative. The government should help develop trash disposal technology by collecting higher waste disposal fee and compensating those affected by environment pollution.

We must strongly oppose the politicization of any controversy pertaining to garbage disposal. 

We believe that although the NIMBY campaign is a huge problem, China should be able to find a feasible solution. In addition to other common mechanisms to solve problems of Chinese society, we also have the special ability to reconcile the interests of all parties and lead the public to the right understanding. 

It is fundamentally important to establish better mechanisms and make good use of such abilities for a social synergy that breaks through the NIMBY effect.

The most fundamental way to address the NIMBY issue is to promote scientific waste disposal that complies with the law. The Chinese government is determined to handle this issue, and society has the desire not to let the problem come in the way of smooth urbanization. 

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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