China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Residents advised against eating fish from China's polluted Songhua River in two months

BEIJING, Nov. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) suggested here Tuesday that residents should not eat fish from the Songhua River in two months since it was poisoned with cancer-causing benzene on Nov. 13.

"The sedimentation of nitrobenzene may accumulate in fish bodies and it would be safer to stop eating aquatic products in the river," said Zhang Lijun, vice director with the SEPA.

Zhang said that his administration would soon organize an experts team to conduct water pollution assessment of the Songhua River and submit an ecology recovery plan afterwards.

A monitoring station in Jilin, a city in northeast China's Jilin Province, found on November 20 that benzene and nitrobenzene levels were far above state standards in northeast China's Songhua River, with nitrobenzene 103.6 times higher than normal.

A chemical plant in Jilin City exploded on November 13, spilling chemicals into the Songhua. An 80-kilometer-long slick of toxic benzene on the river flowed into Harbin early on Nov. 24, after the city of 3.8 million people shut down its water supply system.

"The SEPA will look into the accident and punish persons responsible for the accident according to laws," said Zhang

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