Construction is done on a high-tech garbage incinerator along the East China Sea in Pudong, and it will be working on a trial basis before year's end to ease Shanghai's looming shortfall in garbage treatment capacity.
The first phase of the incinerator will start burning waste in the second half of this year, the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said yesterday. It is built inside the Laogang landfill compound, now the city's primary garbage treatment center.
The new facility will be able to incinerate up to 3,000 tons of garbage every day, about 15 percent of the city's current total daily waste. The second phase of the project, to open soon, will have the same capacity.
Officials said incineration produces much less odor and doesn't impact land use as much by turning most wastes into ash, compared with traditional landfills.
The Laogang incinerator facility will be the largest in terms of treatment capacity in China, said project managers.
Heat from the incinerator will produce electricity. It will produce up to 100 million kilowatt hours annually, enough to supply about 100,000 local families, according to the managers.
Some of the cinders will also be processed into bricks while ashes will be buried. Both the waste liquid and gas would be treated to meet safety standards before being discharged, the project authority said.
The Laogang landfill currently handles 70 percent of Shanghai's daily waste. Over two decades, three huge landfill sites have been used up and a quarter of the fourth section is already full.
Incinerators are the main way Shanghai plans to ease its garbage headache, officials said.
Some local scientists have raised concerns about pollution from incinerators, however. Shen Jianhua, a local environmental scientist, yesterday warned that the operator and government watchdogs must strictly monitor every day to ensure trash is always fully burned.
Insufficient incineration causes the discharged gas to contain pollutants including cancer-inducing chemicals, Shen said.
"It's crucially important for the watchdog to make sure the garbage incineration always meets safe discharge standards. The government should not be too keen on having such a project generating profits by producing electricity.
"They need to focus on avoiding environmental pollution from such plants," Shen said.
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