China refutes U.S. allegation on pollution
Updated: 2006-04-13 22:11 China's environmental authority has rejected a
claim by its United States counterpart that air-borne mercury pollution
discharged from China's power plants and factories are drifting to the United
An official with the Chinese national State Environmental Protection
Administration (SEPA) who declined to give his name was quoted by Thursday's
China Business News as saying that the allegation is "entirely groundless".
The British newspaper, Financial Times, on April 12 cited U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) chief Stephen Johnson as saying that "China's airborne
chemicals and particulate matter were being detected on both coasts of the
Zhang Jianyu, program manager for the Beijing office of Environmental
Defense, a US-based non-governmental organization, said, "As far as I know,
Stephen Johnson has never made this kind of claim publicly."
"It's impossible to distinguish the origin of pollutants in the global
atmosphere," Zhang noted.
The allegation was not news to the Chinese, according to Zhang.
Based on his researches to determine if China's airborne pollutants could
travel to the United States, Prof. Daniel Jacob of Harvard University claimed in
2004 that imported pollution could degrade the atmosphere in the U.S., Zhang
"The claim, however, is only conjecture," the newspaper cited Zhang as
saying. "It is not a foregone conclusion yet."
Mercury is a highly-toxic heavy metal that does harm to the human nervous
system. When it settles on land or lakes it can be ingested by animals that then
flow into the human food chain.