Clean Industries and Toxic Clusters: a research of soil contamination in decommissioned factories sites in Ningbo

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, real-estate | No Comments »

“The severity of the pollution is not understood by either the  public or business and the situation is worsening.”  (Xu Qi, 2007)

1. Introduction

Creative Industries and Real Estate are normally promoted as ‘clean industries’ without the perception of pollution. However, it’s not the whole story when people within the industries showing indifference to the environment and lack of proper actions to prevent pollution, it turns out to be toxic. As Maxell and his colleagues inspire, the ‘clean’ industries can be the wasteful ones for people rely on electronic products too much which can produce toxic e-waste (Maxell, 2008a).  In a following fieldwork on the relationship between the creative industries/real- estate clusters and pollution in Ningbo, the Urban-Media Network team from University of Nottingham Ningbo, China, well observed another new form of pollution in the field-Soil Contamination.

Soil contamination caused by decommissioned factories sites are rarely known neither by public nor government in China.  The sites have been widely reused in most cities in china in answering to the hot demand of land in the progress of the urbanization. Yet, the risk of contamination land has seldom been noticed and analyzed that the so called clean industries thus turn out to produce toxic clusters. Being more invisible by comparing to other pollutions such as water pollution or air pollution, this form of pollution can cause severe damage by hiding deeply under the land.  The hidden polluted soil normally poses serious health and safety risks to people the environment.  More seriously, some of the contaminated land might keep do harming decades even after the polluted source is moved away. Thus the bell ring for the whole society while people enjoy the creatively reuse of the suspicious abandoned factories sites.

This paper starts by raising a new question of soil pollution caused by the abandoned factories reused for creative industries and residential areas. Then by showing the link between theses ‘clean’ industries and toxic effect it can cause, cases in Ningbo and other cities in China are well demonstrating the severe risks of this hidden harm. Interviews of people with different background such as government officials from various departments, developers and environmental protection specialists also add value to the research. It’s then   followed by an emerging call to solutions and actions.  This research serves as an initial attempt to increase awareness and to inspire possible strategy rather than providing detail solution for it’s not always determined by the ‘clean’ industries itself towards a better environment but the attitudes and actions taken by people within it.

2. Creative Industries is not clean: how clean industries turn out to be poisonous?

2.1 Invisible pollution

Soil Contamination, according to US Environmental Protection Agency, ‘is either solid or liquid hazardous substances mixed with the naturally occurring soil. Usually, contaminants in the soil are physically or chemically attached to soil particles, or, if they are not attached, are trapped in the small spaces between soil particles’ (USEPA, 2010)

(Suspicious Soil in Beiijiaolu, Ningbo, photo by Angela Huang)

The pollution presents risks to human health and ecosystems. It has a close link with cancers including leukaemia and neuromuscular blockage. In addition, it increases the risk to damage the central nervous system and causes headaches, nausea, fatigue, eye irritation and skin rash. Heavy metals as Lead in soil is toxic for brain damaging problems for young kids, Mercury can lead to kidney damage and cyclodienes can cause the liver toxicity. The pollution of crops grown in such contaminated soil can threaten food security and plants and animals living there therefore face the problem of safety. Soil pollution also can lead to further water pollution and air pollution (The Tropical-rainforest-animals Website, 2010)

It has been called the ‘invisible pollution’, according to Xu(2007), comparing with other forms of pollution which have visible signs such as airborne stench telling the pollution of water, soil Pollution is  easier to be unnoticed. The growing danger becomes more severe in the progress of Urbanization in China today for most cities where most decommissioned factories sites without strict soil government are widely reused for building creative industries/real estate clusters

2.2 A landmine under the well-designed clusters: some facts

In the demand for urban development, China is facing steely stress in land supply in urban areas. Removing the polluted factories out of the town which are then replaced by new ‘clean’ clusters becomes a direct and easy way to solve the problem. Taking Nanjing for example,  219 polluted factories including Nanjing Chemical Plant, Nanjing Chemical Fibber Plant, Nanjing Titanium Dioxide Plant and Nanjing No.2 Steelworks have been relocated from the down town city during 1992-2006 (Public China, 2006). However, this first trend of reusing the contaminated land is really risky due to the weakness of soil government. According to an official from Environmental Protection Department, the soil contamination “does exist after the removal of polluted factories, however, this issue is now out of effective government’ (Public China, 2006).  What does the official mean by ‘out of effective government’? Some facts show it’s a genuine landmine rather than an innovation of land reuse.

Lack of soil background survey

First of all, there is no mandatory law on soil background survey for land transfer in China at present.  This leads to a fail in the effort to trace the history of pollution and thus cause an unclear description of responsibilities to different land users in various time.  The world wide accepted principle of ‘the polluter pays’ has encountered its failure of being acclimatized to Chinese practises in the level of implement.  According to Jin Weilian, governor in the Urban Construction Department of  Ningbo Municipal government,  the Land and Resource Bureau (LRB) who works as the only authority to takes back the land from the polluted factories and is responsible for further planning and restructure, don’t need to convey any inspection before the land is transferred(Jin, 2010). Therefore the land without soil inspection in the stage of swapping the owners increases the uncertainty of responsibility of contamination effects.  By contrast, some developed countries have improved its regulations on this aspect. In 1980‘s, when GM first entered Shanghai, recalled by Tang Shiming, an environmental Protection specialist, the company took an initiative on the soil background  survey although there is now such requirement from Chinese government (Tang, 2010). Tang goes on to explains that : ‘ GM is in this way to protect itself from the risks of being complained and charged of soil contamination during the following operation in China  by  inspecting  the land before the business starts’.  It would be a long way for its Chinese counterpart to follow as Jin admitted: “It takes time for the government to consider the problem and make relevant laws” (Jin, 2010)

“The polluter pays”?

Who should pay under the present administration of Chinese soil issues? The former land owner? The Land and Resource Bureau? or the new developers? And base on what? The unclear responsibility in Chinese practise makes it tough in promoting the world-wide accepted ‘Polluter Pays Principle (PPP) in dealing soil pollution.  According to PPP, it requires the polluter pay for relevant prevention and control. This principle is  a ‘generally recognized principle of International Environmental Law, and it is a fundamental principle of environmental policy of both the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Community.’ (TEE Website, 1969).  In theory, China today follows the principle in making policies on pollution prevention. However, there are some obstacles in chasing the polluters to pay during the swap of land ownership.

One of the most important reasons is there is no a specific environmental requirement for the polluters to pay for the treatment before they move from the previous sites. As China experiences a boom in the urban construction from the past 20 years, many decommissioned sites have been reused without any inspection in regarding to the soil contamination. Therefore, it becomes a tough task in promoting the PPP today years after the contamination happen for most of the polluted factories removed out of the sites are those without good financial results and most of them are broken. Even there is strong evidence that they cause pollution, they are not affordable for costly soil cleaning.

For those survival ones who might be cable to the cost have a sound   reason to refuse-there is no law in requiring them to be responsible. This leads to a review of the history of Law of Soil Prevention making. In China, according to Zhu (2010), there is no legal requirement for those factories to pay extract money if their operation is within the regulation of current environmental policies. Of course they haven’t broken the law for there is no law there actually. This strange logic helps many polluters who produce genuine pollutant escaping from the responsibility and legal punishment. Then, the decision maker must pay for it.

The Land and Resource Bureau (LRB) as mentioned is the government department who is in charge of land management.  According to an interview to Xu SL (Xu, 2010), a retired officer from The Land and Resource Bureau , he said he never knows there is any requirement for land cleaning before the land transfer in his careen of 20 years in the department. The situation might change from Jan 2010 for the lesson LRB learnt in Wuhan. In a worksite accident that 3 workers severely injured due to the exposure to the soil, the developer found that the golden land it wins in a bid turns out to be toxic by soil pollution, the developer returned the land back to the government–Wuhan Land and Source Bureau who lost 12 million Chinese Yuan in the case (The Ifeng website, 2010). It might be the first story in public media that the government pay for its legal leak in contaminated land transfer which is believed to start some thoughts on  reforms in soil controlling all over the countries.  However it’s not always the government pay during the game of land transfer.

(The land costs LSB Wuhan 12 million, source from Ifeng.com)

In Ningbo, one high-end residential area has been built in decommissioned pharmaceutical factories that it was later found the soil is polluted and received a call for cleaning.   Interestingly enough, neither the polluter nor the LRB pay for the land treatment, but the developer. In an interview to another developer in the town, Xu (2010) said the imbalance between land supply and demand makes the developer into a dilemma that one eager to win out of other competes often the times loose the power in bargaining or to be specific speaking, the developers have no power to ask the government to compensate for the mistakes made by someone else. In this case, 8 million for the first cleaning is paid by the developer.  This is easily linked with a question that why the Wuhan Developer who successfully return the land back to the government while the Ningbo one failed to. It’s simple, because the cleaning is far more expensive and out of the developer’s budget in Wuhan. More importantly, it’s known to world by media reports at that time. Consumers have sound reasons to require more ethics and responsibility from developers for consumer power is the weapon once the right are well recognized.

(The former Ningbo Pharmaceutical Factory is now reused for the most expensive residential garden, photo by Angela Huang)

Environmental Standard = Soil Standard for Human Living?

In the interview to Zhu (2010), an official of Ningbo Environmental Protection Bureau, there is a requirement for developers to pass an Environmental Evaluation Check (EEP) before any project starts. However, the evaluation is only regarding to a comparatively rough reference in environmental influence which doesn’t cover specific reference such as main heavy metals which contributed to most of soil contamination. Then if there is any reference in specifying soil standard for human health in the living environments, he answered: “we have no such kind of policy and it should be business of the Health’s Department”.  Does a relevant health standard exist? It’s clearly answered by supported by Jin: “The health department has no such kind of standard (Jin, 2010). Instead, projects are supposed to be harmful less once they get the approval from the Environmental Protection Bureau.”(Jin, 2010) This makes the basic right of safety for residence or investors on the clusters unprotected in most cities in China.

The case of Oriental Venice, one of the high-end residential areas in Ningbo, tells the damage can happen everywhere in the City every day.  Thu is discovered in the soil which resulted from improper soil cleaning by the former chemical factories (Oriental Venice Community, 2005). The discovery makes every people living in the community facing a great threat that Thu can lead to severe illness such as lung cancer. The local Environmental Protection Bureau then involve into the inspection and with a controversial result that the metal is quite few which might do no harm to human being after the polluted soil is removed. This report is not acceptable by most of the residences for they question the method the EPB uses to test the polluted area and the long-term affect Thu might cause due to those soil hidden deep under the so-called cleaned surface. The worry has sound reasons for there is no accurate standard for human health to support the saying by EPB and who can tell exactly if there is no more Thu radiation which might still affect the soil, air and water in the future. This won’t be the solo in the progress of urbanization until more people are involved in the fight to soil contamination.

(Shadow under the sunshine- The Oriental Venice Community, source from NB.focus. Com)

3. Emergent call for measures to prevent further soil contamination on decommissioned land

The management of soil pollution are therefore very weak in China. Measures should be immediately taken to stop the evil becoming worse which include public education, engagement of civil society and consumer powers, and ethical requirement for developers, law improvement, health standard setting, financial support and relevant technology.

Campaigns on public and government education will play a primary role in raising this new and unbeknown question into views of public.   As it’s well illustrated that few people including government officials or common citizen have less knowledge towards the pollution,   the education will drive more people from different levels to face and solve the problems in the near future. This strategy is a critical force from bottom up and has a close link with the consumer powers that becomes the main force to fight for their basic right of health and safety from the government and developers. This will then push the developers to join the ally no matter on their considering of the cost of the business or its reputation. Then the government is thus become the target who should take immediate actions and responsibility to deal with the pollution and to prevent further harm.

While the strategy of education is an effective way to draw attention to the issue, law making on soil pollution is the key measure to provide legal protection for future cases. According to some developed countries such as US, Australia and Holland, relevant laws have been well established. For example, US have its Soil Prevention Law in 1980. Although China starts to think of the legal improvement on soil government, according to the expert:  “ The initial soil contamination law would not include specific provisions on liability or responsibility for paying for soil remediation…the law would include guidelines on risk assessment and soil remediation, as well as investigation methods and management of contaminated sites(The BNA Website, 2010). It’s thus a long way for China to go before the law is well established. However, pollution can’t wait.

Another key issue in the improvement is the setup of standards regarding soil both from Environmental Protection Bureau and Health Bureau as in China the former is in charge of environmental protection while the later is for human health issues. Thus, soil pollution has put the protection of ecology system and the health of human together that requires the coordination and a closer team work between the two departments in the future. According to Jin (2010),  the success of the collaboration relies  in the removal of bureaucracy among different government departments and a common consensus that avoid each does things in its own way.

Funding and Insurance can also contribute to the soil contamination solution from the financial aspects. Treating soil pollution, according to Xu (2008), is costly and more worryingly, some contamination is hard to clean completely.  As Zhu argues (Zhu, 2010), some cities under developed and without sufficient financial support might make the way to land treatment tougher. The process of soil cleaning thus needs enough money to support.  Special funds will be helpful in the case.  In addition, the model of Insurance on soil pollution in other countries can be borrowed by the polluters to carry out contamination cleaning when the pollution inevitably happens.

Developments of soil cleaning industries and soil treating methods will decide the progress of soil pollution from technological aspects. In China, it’s a brand new market opportunity that requires sufficient expertise and technology to support. In some developed countries, the soil cleaning takes up high to 30-50% of the share of the whole environmental protection industries (The Wateruu Website, 2010). The new market will attract more foreign companies with rich soil treatment experience entering China. This might be the good news.

4. Limitation and Further research

This paper serves as the first attempt to raise the new question of soil pollution in Ningbo and other cities in China by showing some facts and proposing possible solutions. However, it’s narrowed by the sufficient source of data on soil background survey in Ningbo due to rare research and studies are made in this new phenomenon. It thus opens the door to further researches on mapping of how many polluted factories in Ningbo have been reused under the threat of soil contamination, on the accurate affect by the pollution, and professional solutions that help to prevent further damage in the future.

5. Conclusion

This paper is inspired by article Creative Industries or Wasteful Ones (Maxwell, 2010) which reveals the ‘clean’ industries might bring disaster to the world. A further research on the link between the industries and pollution in Ningbo observes soil contamination as a new form of pollution in the creative industries and real-estate clusters.

Soil pollution becomes emerging for the pollution is hidden and its affect can be long-term and fatal. The situation becomes more severe in Ningbo and other cities in China for few people now notice existence of the pollution and less report on it. Education, Law and Policies, Funding and Civil campaigns should be all involved to take immediate actions for reduction and prevention of the pollution.

As a new noticed form of damage in the progress of urbanization, soil pollution on creative industries and real estate clusters calls people’s strong awareness and proper actions towards the environment we rely on. Forget the label of Green it once have for things should be follow the logic that no clean environment, no clean industries. The bell tolls!

References

Jin, WL. (2010), Interview, 24th May, 2010.

Maxwell, Richard and Miller, Toby (2008a), ‘Creative Industries or Wasteful Ones’, Urban

China, 33:28-29, <http://orgnet.net/urban_china/maxwell_miller>, last accessed in May, 2010

Oriental Venice Community (2005),<http://nbfile.focus.cn/msgview/360337/87391570.html>,

last accessed in May 2010

Public China Website (2010), < http://www.pubchn.com/articles/8545.htm>, last accessed in

May 2010

Tang, SM. (2010), Interview, 22nd April, 2010

TEE Website (1969), Polluter Pays, < http://www.eoearth.org/article/polluter_pays_principle>

last accessed in May 2010

The BNA Website (2010), China Drafts Soil Pollution Prevention Law Based on

CERCLA, <http://ehscenter.bna.com/pic2/ehs.nsf/id/BNAP-82RCAG?OpenDocument>, last accessed in May 2010

The Ifeng Website (2010), http://finance.ifeng.com/news/house/20100304/1883612.shtml,

last accessed in May 2010

US EPA Website: <http://www.epa.gov/superfund/students/wastsite/soilspil.htm>, last

accessed in May 2010

Xu Qi (2007), Facing up to “invisible pollution”,

<http://www.chinadialogue.cn/article/show/single/en/724-Facing-up-to-invisible-pollution->, last accessed in May 2010

Xu Qiang (2010), Interview, 25th May, 2010

Xu, SL. (2010), Interview, 25th May, 2010

Zhu, SF. (2010), Interview, 24th May, 2010


Documentary: Clean Industries, Toxic Clusters

Posted: May 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, real-estate, video | No Comments »

This documentary is inspired by the lecture on ‘waste industries:Secondary Resources and the Geopolitics of Waste Distribution’ which reveals the unknown relationship between the Creative Industries with an image of being ‘clean’ and how it ‘contribute’ to a toxic industry of E-Waste.  Further field works on Creative industries and Real Estate Industries made a new observation  that new soil pollution due to the clusters built on decommissioned factories sites without proper cleaning once again make the ‘clean industries’ into a toxic ones. 

The documentary serves as a recorder that  traces the research from realizing the toxic side of a ‘clean’ industry to  field trips in finding the local discourses(Soil Cleaning due to the change of land ownership is normally ignored by local government, developers and even the consumers).  The aim of the research is not to find out answer on  whether the so-call clean industries is clean or not,  is with an effort to find out the relationships with which local practices can be tested by the academic inputs(why should soil cleaning be treated seriously, for whom? and who can contribute to a better solution?..etc.).

By identifying the above questions , a further attempt will be made to reveal and solve the problems  in a following essay with the same title.

Clean Industries, Toxic Clusters


Fieldwork_23, April 2010, Shipping company

Posted: April 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: logistics, maritime industries | No Comments »

On 23 April, Ned, Yulin and I visited one of the world leading shipping companies* in Ningbo. The aim of the visit covers research on the routine operation of a logistics company, the software/IT devices that track employees’ KPIs/ business operation, and working conditions of local staff in local market.

Comparing with a small domestic shipping company visited by other members in our team at the same time, we observed some interesting differences. The international company has a big and nice office in a 5-star hotel and with a well organized chart on human resources. About 100 people working here in different departments with clear job descriptions while the small company with 10-20 employees that staffs always wear several hats at the same time (our team member there found a girl kept data inputting while calling a customer).

Software used in KPI tracing in the big company differs from the small one. As mentioned by our interviewee that a powerful *EDI system is extensively applied within international companies that it can automatically generate update information from different database instantly to ensure the operation go efficiently and properly. By contrast, the system was not mentioned by the small company. Instead, my colleagues there observed the individual used personal MSN as a communicator for customer service and maintaining.

Another issue we want to explore is the working conditions.  People working in the international giant seem to work in a less stressful environment for most of they show confidence in achieving targets for their performance and can finish work on time without OT. Interviewees in the small company expressed that sometimes they need to work after office hour for customer- relationship building. Other findings are the role and influence Worker’s Union in the big company. Although most people apply for Union membership as joining the company, they don’t treat union as a powerful place for right protection. Even most of they don’t know how the Union usually work. The way workers claim their rights not through any organization as Worker’s Union or Foreign Enterprises Service Company but through the communication with the immediate boss which are regarded as the direct and efficient way. The reason for this, according to the interviewee, that there is no a culture here to seek help from Worker’s Union. No feedback from the small company on this question. 

In short, although located in a local market- Ningbo, we can see the culture in the big company is oriented by host country- more European and more international in terms of management style and daily operation practice.

western/international company culture with Chinese elements in the office

 Further research

Another finding included foreign company in China is forbidden in dealing with domestic services (voyages). This will lead to a further investigation on the updated stage of Chinese commitments to WTO on controlling domestic logistics. And the logistic chain is closely linked with the value chain of international trade. Thus, further investigation should be conducted the points along the chain as from factories to logistics agencies for booking space from shipping companies, to preparing the goods , to local containers management, to deliver to the port, to container loading into the port and finally to the destination.

 

 Notes:

*As required by the interviewee, any attempt to public the details of the interview in name of the company needs to be approved by the company management. Therefore the name of the company is not specified in this post.

*EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). More details about EDI system at http://www.qdport.com/webedi/zsjs/files/edi_sxgc.htm


Literature Review_’Creative Industries or Wasterful Ones’

Posted: April 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, real-estate, waste industries | No Comments »

Creative Industries are no doubt with a clean image comparing with those manufacturing counterparts with visible wastes produce. Anyhow, in the article ‘Creative industries or wasteful ones’, Maxwell and his colleagues reveal the dark side or the by-products creative industries create due to heavily relying on electronic technologies. Computers parts, TVs, mobile phones mp3s and other e-devices therefore contribute to a new even more toxic industry- an unbeknown one. The toxic process starts from the unawareness of knowledge of e-waste recycling which involves health risks for workers in the value chain and pollutions to land and water.  And the trend of e-waste from developed countries/regions to developing countries/regions calls for responsibilities both from countries and companies involved. The authors also call for users /public require the ‘clean’ industry be less ‘wasteful ‘by slowing down the business for a while in regarding the proper usage and treatment of e-waste.

It’s indeed an inspiring article which reveal not only how clean becomes wasteful but also the relationship between technology and moral issues. In addition,  consumers and civil society can use their power to claim for the right for the workers and  a less polluted environment which help to prevent the ‘wasteful ‘ industry not  go too far. In short, we are not facing the challenge of new technologies with unwelcome by-products. Instead, we need to inspect why and how we modern society use it for what purposes. Always do the right things and do things right.

Further thoughts and action plan

Our team got an initial action plan that we’re going to share this e-waste knowledge with local environmental protection NGO to see how academic resource can contribute to local communities .A further study will be conducted in the following days to explore another unbeknown wasteful aspect of the ‘clean industries’ in Ningbo-soil pollution on the demolishied factory sites where new Creative Industries and Real Estate Clusters are built.

Reference

Maxwell, Richard and Miller, Toby (2008a) ‘Creative Industries or Wasteful Ones’, Urban China 33:28-29, http://orgnets.net/urban_china/maxwell_miller


Literature Review_Zhang, Li(2008) ‘Private Homes, Distinct Lifestyles: Performing a New Middle Class’

Posted: April 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, real-estate | No Comments »

In her article ‘Private homes, Distinct Lifestyles: Performing a New Middle Class’,  Li Zhang traces the ongoing formation of a new middle class in China that has a close relationship with the reform of privatizing housing in 1998 which differed from   the former state-subsidized public housing policy.

In a time that the real estate industry becomes the main drive for economic booming in China, her fieldworks in Kunming revealing the link between the privatization of real estate and class   forming  focus more on property acquisition and consumption practices that differentiated a ‘happening ‘ middle class. Although it’s a ‘happening ‘ class, Li Zhang observed that the forming middle class shared some cultures cultivated based in the living space( Garden area, Villa or high-end residential areas), such as being wealthy enough to afford  the houses in the same Xiaoqu(Neighborhoods), sharing similar consumption (high-end consumption labeled by specific brands) ,   enjoying same lifestyles(fashion,  kids education and housewives’ leisure-time) and with a strong sense of insecurity by the well-gated systems that both act for isolating the relationship with next-door neighbors and protecting  privacy.

 Does a culture of a class just cover the finance status and the sense of insecurity as it’s in Li Zhang’s study? My observations here in Ningbo might well support her concept of ‘happening’ in terms of forming a new class rather than the set material standard shared within the class. The findings in Ningbo high-end neighborhoods show that there is a tendency that some wealthy people who used to show off their labels of personal possessions are now showing more concerns on the design and cultures of the consumer goods(although they are still big brand and expensive).  Sales in the LV store found that some people begin ask for a nice good without an eye-catching big label.  This shift from showing off to emphasize quality of goods also leads another change-diversified in lifestyles. It’s no longer the time ‘the middle class ‘follows the same activities in their leisure-time/past-times as food massage, Facial treatment and Golf. Some begin to spend more time jogging in the shared gardens and some parents with little children’s unite together to organize for outing. 

Yet, it’s hard to come to a clear definition of what a ’middle class in China’ looks like at the stage. It’s definitely a process rather than a specific term.

Reference:Zhang, Li (2008) ‘Private Homes, Distinct Lifestyles: Performing a New Middle Class’, in Li Zhang and Aihwa Ong  (eds) Privatizing China: Socialism from Afar, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp.23-40


Fildwork_ 22, April, 2010: Some thoghts on Soil Pollution—living in a toxic cluster?

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, real-estate, waste industries | No Comments »

This post just recorded an interview to an ex-specialist in Chinese Environmental Protections Authority and personal fieldwork on 22 April, 2010. In Ningbo, some residential clusters and creative industries clusters are built on the site which used to be factories that facing the risk of polluted soil.

 There are some key problems I observed.  First of all, there are no clear standards for soil background survey before the land used to be rebuilt. In additional, the ‘Polluter pays’ principle needed to be improved  to specify the responsibilities between the former and current users of the polluted land as well as to specify the roles of  different local government departments(Urban planning and construction authorities, Environmental Protection Bureau and the Health Bureau ). Case study will be done for Land of Beijiao Road 151, Ningbo developed by Younger Group for a high-end cluster. Another factor is the lack of public awareness. Especial in a crazy hot time for real estate, consumers don’t have any background knowledge and choices to evaluate the overall conditions of the property before they invest. Although there is little voice trying to question the environmental issues, most investors don’t realize they are in a big risk living/working in a toxic cluster. The aftereffect will be obvious in coming years.

Calls for improvement will focus on policy making and powerful implementation from local governmental level. Developers (companies) should also take responsibility in dealing with the polluted land including background survey before construction and controlling new pollution for the new clusters which are legal and moral requirement for responsible developers. In addition, idea of Environmental Insurance is useful for companies in the case when pollutions happen. Last but not at least would be that public education and media release will help raise the public awareness which might lead to campaigns by buyers or local civil society

Reference Mr. Tang Shiming, Interview on 22 April, 2010


website on China environmental law

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

http://www.chinaenvironmentallaw.com/feed/


How academic resource/ knowledge contribute to local communities

Posted: April 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

www.greenzj.com    is the link (in Chinese)of one major NGO on environmental protection in East China–Green Zhejiang Associations which is

  •  engaged in public educations, children and students green summer camp and other social campaigns for EP.
  •   issues a quarterly Green Newsletter which supposed to be the only one organization to do so
  •  The team has also close networking with local mainstream media.
  •  Members included university students, individual EP specialists and some organizations.
  • used to be funded by several international and national Funds.

We can work together to arrange a lecture/speech on E-waste as in Topic  3  in our lectures to share the ideas with members there  some time in the coming months that our ideas might become their next campaign (Not sure July is suitable for its summer vocation for some students in the university, TBC)

Knowledge sharing and transformation to practice is a good  start for academic birds’ effort striving  for a better environment.


Fieldwork_02, April 2010: Why most cities like Ningbo need creative industries?

Posted: April 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: creative industries, real-estate | 1 Comment »

The Urban-Media Networks team visited Ningbo Hefeng Creative Cluster and later the Fortune Creation Cluster on 2nd April, 2010.  The initiate aims of the trips were to find out ‘the winners’ and ‘the losers’ in CI; the relationship between CI and Real- Estate industries (HOPSCA, Hotel+Office+Parking+Shopping+Convention+Apartment); and how the investment finance.

Findings 

Old factory, new economics

Creative industries have become the most favorite baby for local government and developers in the process of urbanization. One of the main reasons is Promoting Creative Industries is one of Ningbo municipal government’s strategies in industrial optimization. Another factor will be there is a big cake for industrial design.  According to a study, there is about 1,000 million (Chinese Yuan) demand for industrial design from Ningbo which contributed to other markets as Shanghai and Beijing due to lack of local competent design companies. In addition, there is a closer link with Real estate (esp. with a hot term as HOPSCA). In Hefeng, as the interviews briefed, besides studios for designers, there will also be other facilities as a fine hotel, offices, shopping areas, nice place as Cafe’s for designers’ network functions’”, apartments and etc. Same stories as we can see in Fortune Creative Cluster although it now looks like a shopping mall rather than what it supposed to be.

'All in one' HOPSCA

Hefeng Creative Cluster is a stated-own project. It’s financed by governmental investment which according to the interviewee that’ we won’t expect we can make a finance balance within 15-20 years ’. Anyway, we can still see some evidences for it’s a good deal in a long-term period, such as the land value increase, the cash flow from rentals and other service provide, relevant opportunities arise from the business named as CI… (More research on why Ningbo needs HOPSCA)

One of the advantages of Hefeng Cluster includes Good location-really downtown, good river view. Facilities like the Shell-Shaped T- Show hall, with big place and professional facilities which is another selling point to its target local clients. Textile\clothing companies as Younger, Romon, and Peace Bird showed their interests to it. According to their sales, key target customers include other big manufacturers in stationary and sound equipments.

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Can a model be built to a real one?

Challenges being observed here including Market segmentation and strong competition from other newly set up CI clusters. Lack of Professional management which differ from the current system in residential real-estate management

Some Studios/Companies have started business here...

Learning for the field trips

  1. Find out sufficient and proper interviewees. This really a big challenge and a must preparation before the visit. For instant, this time we can not find someone speaks for ‘losers’ …
  2. Ability to control site visit and interview-to is flexible. Some designed questions can not be answered on spot.
  3. Teamwork and time management. Team members   contributed to schedule making and arrangement to this first trip which is really a treasure and learning process for the next trips.

 Issues to be followed up on the topic

  1. The Hefeng Cluster used to be factories and how the former workers relocated?
  2. What other losers find frustrated when they face the new cluster (Aged people who have to move to places far away)?
  3. To what level the small investors in the cluster loosing money, like people buying small offices but cannot find enough tenants in the Fortune Creative Cluster?

Local Policy on E-waste management( in Chinese)

Posted: April 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

1. policy published in Ningbo Environmental Protection Bureau. See Chapter 5

http://www.nbepb.gov.cn/ZCFG_Show.aspx?ClassID=89&InfoID=6503

http://www.nbepb.gov.cn/Info_Show.aspx?ClassID=83&InfoID=79517

2. Essay on” E-waste in China’

http://eedu.org.cn/Article/eehotspot/E-waste/200706/14418.html