International Dioxin Developments

April 27, 2017 | Commercial Litigation | Complex Torts & Product Liability

Incinerator Project Proposed for Central China

The government of Xiantao in central China has contracted with Infore Environment Technology Group for a new incineration plant for the area, according to news reports.

Background

A prior incinerator project was suspended last year after residents protested. An economic planner in Xiantao proposed the new project on February 16.

Once constructed, the plant is expected to be able to process 1,000 tons of waste per day. Under the proposal, the project will be completed within four years.

Zhou Yiqun, the chairman of the Xiantao Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, reportedly told a meeting on April 5 that the government had to make certain that there would be no dissent, petitions, or negative information during construction of the project.

Yale Article

Moving forward “without dissent, petitions, or negative information” could be a difficult goal to achieve. Consider the article by Michael Standaert in Yale Environment 360, published at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, entitled, “As China Pushes Waste-to-Energy Incinerators, Protests Are Mounting.”

Mr. Standaert, who noted that the Chinese government has set a target of disposing of nearly a third of the country’s garbage with waste-to-energy plants by 2030, pointed out in this article that “dozens of protests and lawsuits . . . have sprung up in China in recent years over the spread of waste-to-energy incineration plants.” For example, he observed that protesters of a waste-to-energy plant in Shenzhen “fear the facility will emit high levels of dioxins and other toxins,” and that they were not comforted by “assurances from the project’s developers that they will be employing state-of-the-art incineration technology and housing the operation in a building designed by two respected Danish architectural firms.”

Moreover, Mr. Standaert added, last December, a court in Shenzhen issued a decision favorable to a citizens group that had used crowd-funding to raise money to hire lawyers. The court ordered the government to release a full environmental impact assessment, planning documents, and other data. The decision is on appeal.

Mr. Standaert, a freelance journalist based out of South China, concluded that even if China built the most modern and “best incinerators in the world,” it might “never be able to persuade citizens opposed to these projects that they are the answer to the country’s solid waste problems.”

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Taiwan’s FDA Reports Dioxin in Eggs from Farms in One County

The Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (the “Taiwan FDA”) reportedly for the first time has found dioxin in a batch of eggs from three farms in Changhua County.

According to news reports, the amount of dioxin in the eggs was 5.2 picograms per gram (pg/g), exceeding the maximum permitted limit of 2.5 pg/g.

The Taiwan FDA said that a person who ate the eggs would increase his or her average daily level of dioxin to 0.49 pg/kilogram (kg) of weight, below the World Health Organization’s suggested maximum level of 1 to 4 pg/kg.

After the first reports, the Taiwan FDA increased the number of farms it was investigating to nine. Latest reports indicated that the Taiwan FDA has removed 6,242 kilograms of eggs from store shelves following its dioxin findings.

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Indian Town of Bathinda to Penalize People for Open Burning of Waste

Bathinda, one of the oldest towns in the Indian state of Punjab, is cracking down on the burning of garbage out in the open.

The town decided to take this action after the National Green Tribunal banned the burning of waste in the open.

According to news reports, people who burn waste out in the open, including at landfills, will have to pay the town government of Bathinda Rs 5,000 for simple burning and Rs 25,000 for burning large quantities of waste.

Sandeep Kataria, the town’s chief sanitary inspector, was quoted as saying, “Following the instructions issued by the National Green Tribunal, we started issuing challans [i.e., summonses] to residents who burn garbage in the city. We are also planning to start an awareness drive in which we will sensitize people towards this issue and urge them to stop this trend.”

For further information, please contact James V. Aiosa, Paul V. Majkowski, Lawrence S. Han, or your regular Rivkin Radler attorney.

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