Toxins make second China city cut water
Updated: 2005-12-01 07:16
Another town on a poisoned Chinese river shut down its water system Wednesday
after Communist Party members went door-to-door giving out bottled water in an
effort to show that China's leaders can protect the public from the latest
Running water to about 26,000 people in Dalianhe, on the outskirts of Yilan,
Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, stopped at 6 p.m. as a slick of toxic
benzene on the Songhua River approached, said an employee who answered the phone
at the county government offices.
A stretch of potentially lethal polluted river
water headed towards Harbin after an explosion at a petrochemical
plant, November 24 2005. [newsphoto]
"It will last three days," said the employee, who would give only his
The government said Yilan itself should not be affected because the city of
about 110,000 people gets its water from wells instead of the river.
The benzene arrived a day after Harbin, a major industrial center upstream,
declared its water safe to drink after the system supplying 3.8 million people
was shut down for five days.
In Yilan, television broadcast hours of reports Wednesday on the water
shutdown, including a government statement warning the public not to use river
News reports showed police and party members in red armbands going
door-to-door in freezing weather, handing out leaflets and giving cases of
drinking water to the elderly and poor. An elderly man lying in bed shook hands
with a police commander.
"I really thank the government," another man, identified as Zhou Changgui,
was shown saying.