Local authorities have sent a notice to a Chinese heating company that it
will be fined for discharging dyed water into the Yellow River during repairs,
turning a half-mile section bright red, a state-run newspaper said Tuesday.
incident in Lanzhou, capital of the western province of Gansu, occurred Sunday
and caused an uproar in the city of 2 million. Environmental protection
officials have taken samples and were trying to determine whether the material
|A general view of the polluted Lanzhou section of Huanghe River in
Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu province October 22, 2006. A
sewerage pipeline released red sullage to the river and the cause of
the pollution is under investigation, local media
It was the latest in a series of industrial accidents that have tainted major
rivers in China over the last year.
Lanzhou's environmental authority has delivered the notice to the Lanzhou
Tanjianzi No. 2 Heat Providing Station, according to the Beijing Youth Daily. It
did not give details on the fine.
An employee who answered the telephone at Tanjianzi said she was "not aware"
that a notice had been served but said the company was cooperating with
The woman, who refused to give her name because of the sensitivity of the
issue, said hot water in boilers was dyed to prevent people from diverting it
for their own use.
She said one of the boilers needed to be repaired and that about 1,500 liters
(400 gallons) of dyed water in it was flushed out during the work and discharged
into the river.
"The dyed material is not poisonous," the employee said. "We went to the
Yellow River yesterday and found the water was no longer red."
Telephone calls to the environmental bureau were not answered on Tuesday.
The Yellow River, which flows across northern China, is the source of
drinking water to dozens of cities and tens of millions of people. It has
thousands of chemical factories located along its banks.
A part of it runs through the heart of Lanzhou, where residents were
indignant about Sunday's discharge. Internet users were also upset.
"Financial punishment will not solve the problem," said a bulletin board
posting on Sina.com, one of country's biggest news sites. "The company who
caused the pollution should be kicked out of the business."
Protecting the environment has taken on new importance for the leadership
following a November 2005 chemical spill in the Songhua River in northeastern
China which forced the city of Harbin to shut down its water supply for days.
Already, China's major rivers, canals and lakes are badly polluted by
industrial, agricultural and household pollution and hundreds of millions of
people live without adequate supplies of clean drinking water.
Throughout the country, protests have erupted over complaints by farmers that
uncontrolled discharges by factories are ruining crops and poisoning water