China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Safe production prioritized following water pollution

BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- China issued a circular here Friday putting safe production and emergency response measures on the top of government priorities, following a toxic chemical spill into northeast China's Songhua River.

"President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao sent out a series instructions to limit damage caused by the chemical spill," said the joint circular from the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, the Chinese cabinet.

The circular ordered safety in all public facilities.

Around 100 tons of pollutants containing benzene spilled into the Songhua River after a chemical plant explosion on Nov. 13. The incident has forced cities along the river to temporarily suspend water supplies.

The chemical spill is also likely to impact the neighboring Russia, into which the Songhua flows.

Diplomatic efforts have been made to address the transborder issue.

Xie Zhenhua, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), has resigned from his post for failing to properly deal with the accident.

And three officials were discharged from office for negligence following the serious accident at the Dongfeng mine in Qitaihe, northeast Heilongjiang, last weekend, which is believed to have killed 171.

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