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World

Fire fight: China's war on megatons of trash

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Opening sequence

World

Fire fight: China's war on megatons of trash

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COMING UP:Fire fight: China's war on megatons of trash

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Transcript

00:00:02
>> If you can't bury it, burn it. That's what China's hoping to do with thousands of tons of urban waste that simply won't fit in the country's overflowing landfills. There's a problem though. Widespread public opposition to incinerating trash. Beijing's trying to counter that by developing plants like this to generate power.
00:00:21
And designing them to blend into the surroundings. The smokes stack of this facility disguised as a clock tower.>> I'm David and I'm standing at the Waste Energy Plant just outside Shanghai. Everyday this plant receives 200 trucks. It burns 1,500 tons of garbage to generate half a million kilowatt hours of power, but it's not enough.
00:00:45
Because China's population is so high and its land so scarce, there isn't enough room to bury it. Every major city is surrounded by rings of landfill, and it's causing a growing environmental problem. But if China is really going to tackle its waste problem, it's gonna need many more plants like this.
00:01:03
And the big question is, how can I afford it?>> Officials say even with over 200 of these plants and states subsidies to pay for turning trash into power, they need to find a better way to fund the Beijing's ambitious goal of treating 90% of household waste by the end of the decade.
00:01:21
Experts tell me they'll need private help and it could be a hard sell. There's too much trash and profits are too low. And that's not the only problem for plant officials.>>
FOREIGN]
> There is a low level of understanding in local governments. We need to work on people saying, not in my backyard.
00:01:39
>> Waste incinerators have sparked numerous protests from communities worried about the stench from burning trash and the risk of toxic emissions. The government hopes to offer people cheaper power, water, and heat for living near to incinerators, as mountains and even rivers of garbage pile up across the countryside.