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. Water Cut Off For 20 000 People After Latest Chinese River Toxic Spill

Industrial pollution of China's waterways was thrown into the global spotlight last November when a chemical factory explosion in the northeastern province of Jilin released 100 tonnes of benzene and nitrobenzene into the Songhua river.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Feb 19, 2006
Water supplies have been cut off to 20,000 people after another toxic chemical spill into a Chinese river, state press said Friday.

High concentrations of fluorine, amine-nitrate and phenol appeared in the Yuexi river in the southwestern province of Sichuan on Tuesday, the Beijing Times reported.

The chemical leak led to the immediate cut-off of public water services to 20,000 residents of Guanyin village.

The Yuexi is a tributary of the Min river, which in turn feeds into the Yangtze, China's longest river.

Experts attributed the pollutants to local factory waste and soil erosion, the paper said, adding several factories had been closed because of the spill.

Industrial pollution of China's waterways was thrown into the global spotlight last November when a chemical factory explosion in the northeastern province of Jilin released 100 tonnes of benzene and nitrobenzene into the Songhua river.

It was one of China's biggest environmental scares and raised major concerns in Russia as the slick threatened to affect people living on its side of the border.

The State Environmental Protection Administration said on February 6 there had been 45 water pollution-related incidents since the Jilin blast, including six "major disasters".

Previous government reports have said that more than 70 percent of China's rivers and lakes are polluted, while underground water in 90 percent of cities is contaminated.

Source: Agence France-Presse

related report

Chinese Village Without Fresh Water After Chemical Spill
Beijing, China (AFP) Feb 20 - Water supplies for 20,000 residents in a southwestern Chinese village remained cut off for nearly a week following a toxic chemical spill in a local river, state press said Monday.

High concentrations of fluoride, amine-nitrate and phenol were found in the Yuexi river in Sichuan province last Tuesday, after a leak at a power plant in the upper reaches of the river, China Daily reported.

Residents of Guanyin village had been relying on water trucked in from a town 23 kilometres (14 miles) away but supply had not met demand, it said.

"Our family has not bathed or washed clothes for four days," it quoted a local resident as saying.

The Yuexi, a tributary of the Min, is the major water source for local residents and in turn feeds into the Yangtze, China's longest river.

China Daily quoted a local environmental protection bureau official as saying Sunday that flouride, nitrogen and phenol remained above safety levels.

Industrial pollution of China's waterways drew the global spotlight last November when a chemical factory explosion in northeastern Jilin province released 100 tonnes of benzene and nitrobenzene into the Songhua river.

It was one of China's biggest environmental scares and raised major concerns in Russia as the slick threatened to affect people on that side of the border.

Recent pollution scandals have prompted China's central government into action.

The State Council, or China's cabinet, announced last week that environmental improvements, including the control of water, air and soil pollution, will be a major national priority over the next 15 years.

It requires the environmental quality in key areas and cities be improved by 2010 and "markedly improved" by 2020.

Previous government reports have said more than 70 percent of China's rivers and lakes are polluted, while underground water in 90 percent of Chinese cities is polluted.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
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China To Step Up Environmental Protection Efforts
Beijing (AFP) Feb 20, 2006
Chinese government officials who "sacrifice" the environment for economic development will be punished as part of stepped-up efforts announced Monday to control the nation's ecological degradation.

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