China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Top environment official cites Songhua River pollution as "pain like cutting flesh"

JIAMUSI, Dec. 12 (Xinhuanet) -- China's newly appointed top environment official on Monday reviewed the lesson from the recent Songhua River pollution in northeast China, saying it was a "pain like cutting flesh."

Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), made the remark while inspecting the draining of waste water by the businesses along the Songhua River in the downstream city of Jiamusi in Heilongjiang Province.

"The pollution of the Songhua River water is a pain like cutting flesh that shocked the world," Zhou said.

"The Songhua River is the mother river for local residents. We must protect it and make good use of it," he added.

The SEPA reported on Monday that the tail end of the chemical spill in the Songhua River will soon pass Jiamusi, some 244 km from the city of Tongjiang downstream, where the river joins the Heilongjiang River and flows into Russia.

The nitrobenzene density has been falling as the slick flows downstream due to evaporation and settling, the SEPA said.

The chemical spill is the result of an explosion at an upstream petrochemical plant last month. The SEPA has established 30 monitoring posts along the river.

Zhou urged local businesses to work to develop into resources-saving and environment-friendly enterprises, saying, "It's an obligation for everyone to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development."

"Businesses shouldn't make development and environmental protection opposite to each other," he stressed.

The newly appointed SEPA director who replaced Xie Zhenhua earlier this month also called on environmental authorities to strengthen law enforcement.

"Where does the authority of the environmental protection department come from? It comes from strict environmental law enforcement," he said.


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