China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Thursday, February 09, 2006

China Pushing Environmental Cleanup

By ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business WriterWed Feb 8, 6:21 PM ET

Cracking down after a spate of toxic chemical spills, China's environmental agency ordered cleanups at some heavily polluting factories and is planning inspections of other big projects, state media reported Wednesday.

Eleven heavily polluting factories must clean up or face closure or fines. Separately, inspections are planned at 127 large chemical and petrochemical projects.

The State Environmental Protection Agency also named 10 road construction, power plant and other projects it said were put on hold for posing environmental hazards, state media reported.

The announcement reflects public pressure for stronger action against rampant pollution that has ravaged China's environment during 25 years of breakneck industrialization.

Previous attempts by the environmental agency to crack down on big polluters have generally failed. Last year, the environment agency ordered the suspension of 30 big construction projects for alleged violations of conservation safeguards. Some were allowed to continue, according to local reports.

Calls for stronger enforcement mounted after a toxic spill from a chemical plant explosion in November into the Songhua River, the source of drinking water for tens of millions of people living in northeastern China and Russia.

An eastern Chinese province shut down its water intake points along the Yellow River after a diesel oil spill around the same time. Another province reported that potentially cancer-causing cadmium had leaked into a tributary of the Yangtze River.

The environmental agency found violations at 11 companies after checks on 78 firms following the Songhua River spill, state media said. The list of companies facing cleanup, fines or closure includes a chemical plant that had polluted the drinking water for the northeastern city of Liaoyang, state media reported.

The list does not include the plant on the Songhua, where an investigation into the spill is ongoing.

The agency is planning a second round of checks on 127 large chemical and petrochemical projects, which are worth a total of $56 billion, in densely populated areas, in nature reserves and along waterways, state media said.

Earlier this week, the agency demanded that officials report environmental disasters within an hour after discovering them, warning of possible criminal punishment for failing to do so.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home