Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

China To Spend Over 1Bn Dollars Cleaning Up Songhua River

Chinese water authorities take samples of the Songhua River. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Mar 31, 2006
China said Thursday it would spend 1.2 billion dollars cleaning up its third biggest river following a major chemical spill last year that contaminated water supplies for millions of people.

The State Council, or cabinet, on Wednesday approved the plan to invest 10 billion yuan (1.2 billion dollars) over five years cleaning up the Songhua river in the industrial northeast of the country, the State Environmental Protection Administration said.

"The plan is to solve the pollution problem in the drainage area of the river," the administration said in a statement on its website.

The decision to clean up the 1,897-kilometer (1,172-mile) river comes after an explosion on November 13 last year at a PetroChina chemical factory in Jilin province.

The accident led to the spillage of 100 tonnes of the carcinogens benzene and nitrobenzene into the river, a tributary of the Heilong river which in turn flows into major waterways in Russia's far east.

The chemical spill led to water supplies being suspended for days for millions of people living along the Songhua, including in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province.

In Russia, there were fears that the water and fish supplies for more than 600,000 people in the far eastern region of Khabarovsk had been contaminated.

Although Chinese authorities insisted the impact of the chemical spill dissipated shortly after the slick passed through the river, environmentalists have expressed concerns about the potential long-term damage.

The PetroChina spill was just the highest-profile accident along the Songhua, with the river and its surrounding environment suffering for decades from heavy industrial pollution.

The cities along the Songhua have historically been part of China's industrial heartland, even before the People's Republic was established in 1949.

Heavy industry, including chemical factories, coal mines and manufacturing factories, continues to operate in the area.

The State Council said preventing and controlling pollution in the industrial northeast had been elevated into the 11th five-year plan for national economic and social development.

"Doing the job well is of great significance to reinvigorating the old industrial base of northeast China, boosting coordinated economic and social development and improving people's lives," the administration said.

"Priority shall go to treatment and protection of collective sources of drinking water in large and medium-sized cities to ensure safety of drinking water and water quality of the China-Russia border river."

Water pollution is an enormous problem across China, not just along the Songhua.

More than 70 percent of its rivers and lakes are polluted, while underground water supplies in 90 percent of Chinese cities are contaminated, according to previous government reports.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

Subsurface Bacteria Release Phosphate To Neutralise Uranium Contamination
Oak Ridge TN (SPX) Mar 31, 2006
In research that could help control contamination from the radioactive element uranium, scientists have discovered that some bacteria found in the soil and subsurface can release phosphate that converts uranium contamination into an insoluble and immobile form.

  • Tiny Water Purification Packet Helps Save Lives Worldwide
  • UN Conference Calls For Alert Systems For All Disasters By 2015
  • Urban Interests Harmed By Wetland Development Program
  • Biodiversity Conservation May Help Reduce Natural Disaster Impacts

  • UN Decries Biodiversity Decline, Climate Change
  • Better Estimates For Future Extreme Precipitation In Europe
  • Climate Change Deal Will Fail Without US, China And India: Blair
  • Britain Will Exceed Kyoto But Miss Own Targets On Greenhouse Gases

  • Envisat Makes Direct Measurements Of Ocean Surface Velocities
  • NASA Scientist Claims Warmer Ocean Waters Reducing Ice Worldwide
  • Space Tool Aids Fight For Clean Drinking Water
  • FluWrap: Deadly Strain Divides

  • Coal-Based Jet Fuel Poised For Next Step
  • 3-D Imaging To Enable Clean Energy Technologies
  • Purdue Energy Center Symposium Touts Benefits of Hydrogen Fuel
  • Russian Oil Pipeline To Avoid Pacific Wildlife Bay

  • Simple Idea To Dramatically Improve Dengue Vaccinations
  • Avian Influenza Arrives In Middle East
  • Researchers Seek Answers To Combat TB Epidemic
  • Warming Trend May Contribute To Malaria's Rise

  • Australian Chance To Get A Piece Of (Pre)History
  • Going Deep
  • Embryos Tell Story Of Earth's Earliest Animals
  • Protecting Endangered Species Helps Reduce Poverty

  • China To Spend Over 1Bn Dollars Cleaning Up Songhua River
  • Evacuations Continue As China Gas Well Leaks After Blast
  • Subsurface Bacteria Release Phosphate To Neutralise Uranium Contamination
  • Universities Collaborate To Reduce Development Impact On James River

  • Cortex Matures Faster In Youth With Highest IQ
  • New Light On Muscle Efficiency
  • Chimps, Like Us, Utilise Referential Gesturing
  • How Does The Brain Know What The Right Hand Is Doing

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement