China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

River pollution assessment underway in NE China

BEIJING, Dec. 20 (Xinhuanet) -- A program to appraise and monitor the ecological impact of November's chemical spill in northeast China's Songhua River pollution is proceeding as scheduled, according to the China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

The program is aimed at coping with the current spread of the pollution and set a timetable to solve all related problems, the SEPA said.

In mid-November, a petrochemical plant blast at Jilin City of Jilin Province, which spilled benzene and nitrobenzene into the Songhua River, caused a four-day water stoppage in the downstream city of Harbin, capital of neighboring Heilongjiang Province.

The level of poisonous nitrobenzene has so far dropped, said sources with the SEPA, which is co-operating with local governments to investigate into the incident.

Research is being conducted on the spread of the pollutants, the impact on the Songhua River fishery and water product quality, urban emergency water supply and water purification, risk assessment of the pollutants on human health and the clean-up of the Jilin section of the Songhua River.

The initial phase of the operation is scheduled to end before the end of next March and the whole program is expected to be concluded before the end of October in 2006.

The SEPA has also mapped out water quality appraisal plan for next spring to ensure the safety of drinking water when ice on the Songhua River melts away.

The plan includes monitoring surface water along the river on aweekly basis, analyzing the water sources and measuring the concentration of the spilled benzene and nitrobenzene on a daily basis. And a comprehensive survey of the river's sediments and aquatic animals and plants will be unfolded in April and August 2006.

Moreover, the SEPA will provide weekly reports on the quality of groundwater in the area and publish related information on soil analysis.


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