Beijing apologizes for stinking garbage plant

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing has made a rare public apology for a stinking garbage processing plant that prompted scores of angry residents to stage a street protest, local media reported on Friday.

Several hundred people clashed with security forces in Beijing’s eastern Chaoyang district last week, complaining that noxious fumes from Gao’antun Garbage Landfill Plant were affecting their health, a Hong Kong-based rights group reported.

The local government promised residents the smell would disappear within 20 days, and that 91 million yuan ($13 million) would be spent to clean up the plant, whose fumes had kept nearby residents awake at night, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

“The smell from the Gao’antun Garbage Landfill Plant has affected the normal lives of surrounding residents. I apologize on behalf of the Chaoyang District government,” the paper quoted spokesman Yin Xiufeng as saying.

Haphazard urban planning has triggered a number of disputes between local governments and increasingly belligerent property-owning residents in Chinese cities, but organized protests remain rare.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Jeremy Laurence