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Official challenged to swim in polluted river | Updated: 2013-03-26 20:54

Internet users have urged an official in Hubei province to swim in a severely polluted river, which has turned a milky color, posing a threat to thousands of people and vast areas of farmland.

Their appeal is aimed at Yang Yao, secretary of Macheng city Party committee.

On Sunday, Macheng environmental protection bureau responded on micro-blogging platform Sina Weibo.

It said authorities have been taking environmental recovery and protection measures since 2011, but for the environment in the Maxi River and nearby Baiya Mountain to recover, more time is needed.

Operations at about 13 stone-processing factories that were opened illegally were suspended late last year, according to the bureau.

The next step is to crack down on illegal discharges and help equip local factories with pollution prevention facilities, the bureau said.

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