Major river pollution confirmed in northeast China
Updated: 2005-11-23 16:40
China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said here on
Wednesday that the Songhua River in northeast China suffered a major water
pollution incident owing to the explosion of a petrochemical plant at the upper
Thick smoke rolls
up into the sky after explosions ripple through the Jilin Petroleum and
Chemical Company from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday, Northeast China's
Jilin Province. There are so far no casualties reported while witness said
dozens were hospitalized. [Xinhua]
the explosion at the Jilin Petrochemical Company under China National Petroleum
Corporation, our observation showed pollutants containing benzene had flown into
the Songhua River and caused water pollution," said an official with SEPA.
Benzene is a substance harmful to human health.
The official said upon receiving the report, the administration immediately
sent experts to Heilongjiang Province to assist local pollution-control efforts.
Quality of the river water is under close observation for 24 hours every day.
The Jilin and Heilongjiang provincial governments have activated their
contingency programs for environmental incidents, and have taken measures to
ensure the safety of potable water, said the official.
He said Jilin had quickly blocked entry of the pollutants into the river and
discharged water from a reservoir to dilute pollutants in the river. It also
organized environmental, water conservancy and chemical experts to discuss
pollution control plans, and beefed up monitoring work.
The finance department of the Heilongjiang provincial government has
allocated 10 million yuan (approximately 1.23 million US dollars) specially for
handling the pollution incident, said the official.
According to the official, observation data shows the degree of river water
pollution has been declining.