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Cadmium pollution: Cities stay on alert
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-01-10 06:03

ZHUZHOU, Hunan Province: The levels of cadmium in a small section of the Xiangjiang River in this Central China Province are still above safety levels after a spill last week, a senior provincial official said yesterday.

The levels were "one or two times" higher than the national standard in the Wangcheng section of the river in a suburban county of provincial capital Changsha, Jiang Yimin, provincial environmental head, told China Daily.

Cadmium, a chemical that can cause neurological disorders and cancer, seeped into the Xiangjiang River during a silt-cleaning project on January 4.

Jiang said "drinking water for households is safe due to timely emergency measures."

The spill happened in Zhuzhou, an industrial hub, and polluted a stretch of 100 kilometres of the river, a tributary of the Yangtze.

"We need to keep on alert in case there is new pollution and the cadmium level rises," said Jiang.

The cadmium content in the river peaked at 80 times the safety level some days ago, according to Jiang.

Local authorities are neutralizing the spill with various chemicals and diluting it by releasing water from upstream reservoirs.

The government has ordered all chemical factories along the river to suspend production.

Yellow River slick

In another development, a diesel oil pollution slick in the Yellow River reached Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong Province, yesterday.

Experts estimate that at the current speed, it would flow into the Bohai Sea on Friday.

The oil leakage occurred on Thursday at the No 2 Power Plant of Gongyi, a city in Central China's Henan Province.

The neighbouring Shandong Province activated its emergency plan last Saturday, shutting down 63 water intake points along the Yellow River.

The suspension will not affect urban water supplies as the river water is mainly used for agriculture, said an official of the provincial environmental protection bureau.

"The suspension could last one week," said Zhang Kai, director of the bureau.

To speed up the dilution of the oil slick, the Xiaolangdi Reservoir on the Yellow River has doubled its flow to 600 cubic metres per second.

(China Daily 01/10/2006 page1)

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