China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Investigation team formed to probe water pollution

BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- China's State Council set up an investigation team here Tuesday to probe the cause of the recent water pollution and the related chemical plant explosion in northeast provinces.

A chemical plant blast took place on Nov. 13 in northeast China's Jilin Province. It later spilled large amount of benzene into the Songhua River, causing a four-day water cutoff in the downstream Harbin city, capital of neighboring Heilongjiang province in late November.

The State Council dispatched a work team to Harbin to deal withthe water pollution problem soon after the accident. Premier Wen Jiabao went to Harbin to inspect local public water supply system as well.

The investigation team formed Tuesday will look into the cause of the the gas blast and how the benzene was discharged into the Songhuajiang River without proper treatment.

The group will find out who should be held accountable for the accidents.

Li Yizhong, director of the state work safety watchdog, was appointed head of the investigation team. Seven vice minister-level officials from the Ministry of Supervision, the Commission for Supervision and Management of State-owned Properties, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the State Environmental Protection Administration, Jilin and Heilongjiang provincial governments were appointed deputy heads of the team.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate will also participate in the investigation team.

The chemical plant is under the Jilin subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation.


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