Laogang Landfill in eastern Pudong New Area, where over 90 percent of Shanghai’s household waste is treated, was identified by authorities as the source of a strong odor bothering nearby residents on Monday.
The Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, which conducted the inspection, said that the smell affected residents from district towns Zhangjiang, Chuansha, Jinqiao and Gaoqiao from 6 am to 11 am.
“Some people said that they smelt burning plastic, while others described it as rotten eggs,” Chen Wei, head of the bureau’s emergency response department, told the Global Times on Monday.
He said that testing proved that Laogang Landfill was to blame for the situation. But no abnormal operations were discovered at the landfill on Monday, added Chen.
“The southeast winds and low air pressure system, combined with high humidity levels might have caused the smell to spread around,” he added.
Everything was running normally at the landfill on Monday, said Qu Shaoqing, deputy general manager of the company responsible for Laogang Landfill, which manages more than 10,000 tons of household garbage daily.
“There are several smelly sources in the area, including animal farms, sewage plants and chemical factories,” he told the Global Times on Monday.
He added that preventing odors from escaping is a challenge considering the amount of waste the site handles, but said the company has stepped up measures to stop smells from spreading in recent years – effectively reducing complaints from dozens two years ago to around 10 last year. The most recent complaints were pinned to two similar cases in the city last month.
According to Dai Xingyi, director of the Urban Environment Management Research Center at Fudan University, containing odors at the landfill is a task still in need of work.
“Higher standards of treatment and better garbage classifications would help create more efficient practices that could reduce odors,” he told the Global Times on Monday.