Chinese Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA)

Chinese Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA)

Monitoring team discovers huge arsenic pollution in Chinese river

Relevant heads of SEPA notified the media on the arsenic pollution accidents of Ruifeng Mining Industry Ltd. Company in Dushan County, Guizhou province. This was a bad environmental pollution accident, which left us deep lessons, he said. He said, Ruifeng Company put the outdated vitriol production lines, which should to be phased out according to State orders and were left unused for nearly two years, back into production in October 2007.

Despite the orders of local environmental protection bureaus on suspending production, this company started production illicitly during November 24 and December 9, and discharged 1,900 tons of Arsenic wastewater directly to Duliu River.

By December, some of the residents in the lower reaches of the River began to develop symptoms of vomit, nausea, faint and edema. 13 cases of light-degree Arsenic poisoning was diagnosed in Linpan Village and Qunjian Village by medical departments, as well as four cases of sub-acute Arsenic poisoning. The cause of the diseases was the consumption of the polluted water in the river.

Later after the accident, leaders of the State Council paid great attention to it, ordering SEPA to respond timely and effectively. SEPA immediately sent a work team to the scene and assisted the governments of Guizhou and Guangxi in cross-border monitoring and pollution control, initiating the contingency plan for environmental emergencies and solving drinking water problem and poisoning accidents of the public.

SEPA Minister Zhou Shengxian ordered to severely punish the enterprises and people liable for discharging pollutants stealthily and make public of them. Thanks to the timely and effective response, by January 12, 2008, the total amount of Arsenic in the Duliu River was under control, the water of Sandu County in the lower reaches of the River met with the national standards for drinking water, the normal water supply of the county residents and suburbia was restored and the poisons got well and left the hospital.

According to this person with SEPA, by now, the Arsenic pollution accident in Duliu River had been disposed properly. The public security department had held two heads of Ruifeng Company in custody and investigated them, and local governments were looking into the breach of duty and misconduct of relevant departments. SEPA would continue to intensify the supervision, seriously punish the persons liable for the accidents by law and earnestly safeguard the public health.

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