100 tons of chemicals flowed into river
Updated: 2005-11-25 05:47
About 100 tons of dangerous chemicals equivalent to 10 tanker-truck loads was
spewed into the Songhua River, which supplies water to Harbin, the nation's
environment watchdog disclosed yesterday.
Zhang Lijun, vice-minister of the State Environmental Protection
Administration (SEPA), told a press conference in Beijing that Jilin
Petrochemical Corporation, a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation
(CNPC), "should be responsible" for the leak of benzene and its derivatives
following an explosion at a chemical plant.
"We will be very clear about who's responsible. It is the chemical plant of
the CNPC," Zhang said.
Asked whether the company might face criminal charges or fines, he said that
had not been decided.
A stretch of potentially lethal polluted river
water headed towards one of China's biggest cities on Thursday after an
explosion at a petrochemical plant, November 24 2005.
The plant, on the upper reaches of the river in Jilin Province, earlier
denied any connection between the contaminated water and the explosion on
November 13, which left a trail of dead fish.
But Jilin Vice-Governor Jiao Zhengzhong, also Party secretary of Jilin city,
apologized to the 3.8 million residents of Harbin on Wednesday during a visit
there. He brought 71 tons of mineral water with him. "We will work with the
Heilongjiang provincial government to quickly investigate the incident," Jiao
CNPC also apologized to Heilongjiang people Thursday. Its deputy general
manager Zeng Yukang expressed his sincere sympathy and deep apologies to the
residents of Heilongjiang Province.
Zeng, who is also director of Daqing Petroleum Administration Bureau, came to
Harbin on Wednesday, heading a drilling crew which is to dig 100 deep
groundwater wells for universities and college as well as water and heat
suppliers in the city.
Zeng also deemed it CNPC's duty to help treat the pollution, according
to the city government of Harbin.
Water supply has been suspended in Harbin since Tuesday midnight and the city
government is keeping a close watch on an 80-kilometre swathe of polluted water
in the Songhua which flowed into the city early yesterday morning.