Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

New Chemical Spills Threaten Water Supply For Millions In China

Beijing (AFP) Jan 08, 2006
Two major new toxic spills in China have threatened water supplies for millions of residents, officials and state media said Sunday, as local governments took emergency measures.

In the eastern province of Shandong a 60 kilometer-long (37 mile) diesel oil slick flowing down the Yellow River, China's second longest river, forced the province to stop pumping water from it, the Xinhua news agency said.

So far 63 pumping stations along the river in several cities and counties, including the capital Jinan, have been shut down, said Xinhua.

An official at the Jinan city Yellow River River Affairs Bureau told AFP the city of about six million people was now relying on water from reservoirs.

"We still have water to provide. We are doing all right. We're using reservoir water, which can last us several months," said the official.

It was not immediately clear if other cities had similar backup supply.

Provincial officials could not be reached for comment even though the cabinet issued a nationwide emergency response plan Sunday that promises to inform the public of public health threats in a timely and accurate way.

The oil spill occurred Thursday at Gongyi city in neighboring Henan province when a frozen pipe broke, causing six tons of oil to spill into a tributary of the Yellow River.

However, Xinhua did not report it until Sunday.

Officials had thought the density of the slick would be low by the time it reached the Yellow River in Shandong Saturday but it was still 27 times above the national safety standard, Xinhua said.

In the central province of Hunan a mismanaged silt clean-up project allowed the industrial chemical cadmium, which can cause neurological disorders and cancer, to flood out of a smelting works and into the Xiangjiang River on Wednesday, Xinhua said.

The river supplies water to residents in the provincial capital Changsha, which has about six million people, and nearby Xiangtan city, which has 700,000 inhabitants.

Officials told AFP they have taken emergency measures and residents were not in danger.

Local authorities have blocked off the spill and are trying to neutralise the cadmium slick with different chemicals and to dilute it by releasing water from a dam.

Officials said they did not have to shut off water supplies since measures they took were effective and water treatment plants were able to filter out the pollution.

"The water being supplied by the water treatment plants is still up to standard," said an officer surnamed Zhou at the Changsha city government's office.

Xinhua said the amount of cadmium in the river reached 25.6 times above safe levels at its peak but had dropped to 0.14 times by Saturday.

However several residents said they did not know about the spill, which was not reported on Xinhua until Saturday night. It was not clear whether local media had reported it earlier.

The incidents follow a cadmium spill in southern China's Guangdong province which cut tap water supply to tens of thousands of people for more than a week last month.

In November a toxic benzene slick from a factory explosion in northeast China polluted the Songhua River and cut tap water to millions of city-dwellers in Heilongjiang province.

The spills have focused attention on water pollution in a country where millions still lack safe drinking water and most rivers are polluted by industrial and human waste.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

French Asbestos Warship Heads To India For Demolition
Marseille (AFP) Jan 05, 2006
A French warship insulated with asbestos which is at the centre of a court battle with environmental groups resumed its final journey to an Indian breaker's yard on Monday, authorities said.

  • Mardi Gras Season Kicks Off In New Orleans
  • Caribbean States To Meet On Tsunami Warning System
  • Relief Flights Resume In Wintry Pakistan Quake Zone
  • Killer Tsunami Showcases India Disaster Skills, Global Ambitions

  • Hottest Australian Year Boosts Global Warming Worries
  • Past Year Set To Be One Of Warmest Years On Record Says WMO
  • Kyoto Protocol Confirmed As The Only Game In Town
  • Fine-Tuning The Steps In The Intricate Climate Change Dance

  • The Topex/Poseidon Oceanography Mission Ends
  • NG Ships First Advanced Tech Microwave Sounder Flight Instrument To NASA
  • Radar Sat Service Checks Stability Of Africa's Largest Artificial Hole
  • Intersat Introduces Virtual Reality Flight Simulator

  • Fossil Fuel Crisis Drives Europe To Nuclear, Green Energy
  • Portable Fuel Cell-Based Power Pack For The Battlefield
  • US Renewable Energy Firms Cash In
  • Strong Magnetism Creates 2D Superconductivity

  • Avian-Flu Battle Is Being Lost Says UN Agency
  • Potential Bird Flu Treatment Among LIAI Findings
  • China Reports Sixth Human Bird Flu Case And Fresh Outbreak
  • New Flu Fears In Three Countries

  • "Bigfoot" Excitement Mounting In Malaysia
  • An Elephant Tail
  • Scientists Sequence DNA Of Woolly Mammoth
  • Why The Amazon Rainforest Is So Rich In Species

  • New Chemical Spills Threaten Water Supply For Millions In China
  • French Asbestos Warship Heads To India For Demolition
  • China Waterworks Resumes Supplies After Spill
  • Toxic Levels Low In Russian River

  • New Technique Puts Brain-Imaging Research On Its Head
  • New Maps Reveal True Extent Of Human Footprint On Earth
  • Distinct Brain Regions Specialized For Faces And Bodies
  • NSF Funds Probe Of The Quintessence Of Surprise

  • 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