China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Monday, February 27, 2006

Russia, China to conduct joint pollution monitoring in Far East

26/02/2006 12:55 KHABAROVSK, February 26 (RIA Novosti, Larisa Dokuchayeva) - Russia's Far Eastern authorities signed an agreement with China Sunday on joint monitoring of the Songhua and Amur cross-border rivers where a chemical spillover occurred late last year, a local official said.

The official within the administration of the Khabarovsk Territory, bordering on China, said the agreement, aimed at quick response to possible pollution was signed by the territory's natural resources minister and a Chinese official from the country's State and Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).

The spokesman said a Russian delegation would go to China this week to make measurements of chemicals in the Songhua River in three stages: before, during and after ice drift.

The document follows a Russian-Chinese agreement on joint monitoring of cross-border waterways, signed February 22 in Beijing by Russia's Natural Resources Minister, Yury Trutnev, and SEPA's head Zhou Shengxian.

China and Russia have stepped up bilateral cooperation in environmental protection in the wake of a major explosion at a chemical factory in northeast China November 13 that led to about 100 tons of chemicals, including potentially lethal benzene, spilling into the Songhua River, a tributary of the Amur.

The 200-km toxic slick in the Amur River flowed for hundreds of miles along the Songhua River until it reached the Amur on the China-Russia border and passed Russia's major Far Eastern cities of Komsomolsk-on-Amur and Khabarovsk, home to about 600,000 people, causing a major environmental safety concern in the region.

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