China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Monday, May 08, 2006

No pollution when ice melts in China’s Songhua River

BEIJING, May 7 (Itar-Tass) – The benzene-related pollutants in northeast China's Songhua and Heilong rivers remain at a safe level during the spring thaw period, China's state environmental protection administration (SEPA) was quoted by the Xinghua news agency as saying on Saturday.

The thaw period had finished, but the benzene, nitrobenzene and aniline contents in the two rivers did not exceed the national standards of both China and Russia, said the SEPA.

The Songhua River, a tributary of the Heilong River, which is also called the Amur River in Russia, was heavily polluted last year after a chemical plant explosion upstream on November 13, causing some 100 tons of benzene-related pollutants to spill into the river and endangering the water supply for millions of residents along the river.

Since then, Chinese environmental protection departments have been closely monitoring the changes of water quality in the two rivers. China and Russia have also conducted several joint monitoring exercises.

From March 4 to 22, the two countries’ specialists took samples of water, ice and silt from the different sections of the Songhua River and found benzene-related pollutants did not exceed the national standards of China and Russia, according to the statement.

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