Once rumors were spread about a chemical plant that could be moved in a distant Suburb of Shanghai, hundreds of environmentalists took over the streets in loud protests. The increasing levels of smog and environmental degradation across major areas of China are angering the urban classes that protest against pollution.
Industries evolve at a rapid pace, endangering populations that suffer from serious health issues due to the poor quality of air. Protesters declared they feared the government would build a new chemical plant, although officials stated that the plan will be canceled. Communities face deep fear and concern related to public health, going loud on the streets to oppose potentially hazardous projects that affect the wellbeing of extended communities.
Over the last few days, thousands of inhabitants in the Shanghai suburban district of Jinshan got out on the streets to protest outside the district government.
Police forces rapidly interfered to calm down the loud demonstrators, forcing them to board buses before driving away from the Shanghai city center. The conflict got violent, as the police aggressively grabbed an Associated Press reporter, in an attempt to shove him away. Filming was forbidden, as plainclothes officers were equipped with umbrellas to block any attempt to record live footage from the conflict area.
The last years have been defined by controversy around petrochemical plants that are known to produce paraxylene, a very harmful chemical used in making polyester fiber and plastics. Chinese communities deal with giant amounts of pollution coming from the increasing number of chemical plants build around inhabited areas.
Demonstrations tighten as people in China must face a government that still controls the media and has a very poor reputation for transparency. Freedom of speech is still an intangible concept while people see themselves forced to react in protests that turn out to be violent manifestations, with police forces interfering aggressively and blocking the public reactions.
“The level of trust that we have in the government is very low.” a protester stated. The ignorance of governments that are concentrated on revenues rather than social care makes people react in fury and go wild over social matters. People claim public reactions from the government expected to come out and offer a clear statement over the decision to cancel the construction of a PX chemical plant.
Paraxylene is highly hazardous especially when inhaled, resulting in eye soar and throat and nose irritation.
The Shanghai government released a public declaration, stating that it plans to cease all the environmental assessments in the industrial zone, promising a future focus on cleaning up pollution.
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