Issue Date: March 10, 2008
Coastal projects face opposition from local residents
Two large petrochemical projects planned for construction in affluent parts of China are facing tough opposition on environmental grounds from local residents.
Last week, demonstrations that occasionally turned violent were held on the island of Dongshan, in Fujian province. International newswires and the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported that thousands of people participated.
Dongshan residents, many of whom earn a living from fishing, oppose the construction of a $1.4 billion p-xylene plant by Taiwan-funded Tenglong Aromatic. It would be located on Gulei, a peninsula that reaches out from the mainland to within 2 miles of the island. Tenglong originally intended to build the plant in Xiamen, 75 miles north of Dongshan, but the project ran into spirited opposition from that city's well-to-do middle class (C&EN, June 11, 2007, page 17).
Meanwhile, in the southern province of Guangdong, China's state media report, 14 provincial legislators are moving to postpone the construction of an $8 billion refinery and petrochemical complex promoted by China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec) and its partner, Kuwait Petroleum. The project was reportedly approved last November by China's National Development & Reform Commission, but the legislators say a full environmental impact review has not been conducted yet.
Jia Yiqun, a Sinopec spokesman in Hong Kong, tells C&EN that it's too early to get excited. "We're still only in talks with the Kuwaiti government," he says, noting that the project was initiated by Kuwait. "We have not completed the feasibility study yet."
Residents of Nansha, an industrial suburb of Guangzhou, where the project is supposed to be built, have in the past expressed concerns about pollution from the chemical industry (C&EN, Jan. 8, 2007, page 32).
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