China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Thursday, December 08, 2005

China launches environmental safety inspection

BEIJING, Dec. 8 (Xinhuanet) -- China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said Thursday it was launching a nationwide environmental safety inspection targeting big or mediumsized enterprises along rivers.

"Big or medium sized enterprises located along major rivers or their tributaries, especially the chemical plants at the upper reaches of drinking water sources, are major inspection spots," said an emergency circular issued by SEPA, requiring that the inspection teams sent to ten provinces should wrap up their work by the end of next January.

The circular came after the toxic benzene spill into Songhua River caused by a chemical plant explosion in north China's Jilin Province.

SEPA's director Xie Zhenghua resigned last Friday, becoming thehighest-ranking official removed from office for an environmental disaster.

On Monday, SEPA reported four recent environmental accidents ina bulletin shortly after their occurrences. The four incidents, all chemically contaminating the surroundings, have been dealt with immediately and no human deaths have been reported.

Thursday's order asked local governments to frame an environmental emergency response plan by the end of this year to shut down plants with excessive drainage and factories failing to improve environmental safety conditions

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