Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has demanded a thorough
investigation of the Taihu Lake crisis, which affected the drinking
water supply of about 2 million residents in east China, and called
for increased efforts to protect the lake from further
"The pollution of Taihu Lake has sounded the alarm for us," Wen
said in a directive to a symposium held by the State Council in
Wuxi on Monday.
Taihu Lake, which was once a scenic attraction famous for its
aquatic life, including white bait, shrimp, lily, and water
chestnuts, has been heavily polluted as a result of industry,
agriculture, and domestic waste.
Wen said efforts had been made to reduce pollution in Taihu Lake
in recent years. "But the problem has never been tackled at the
He asked participants of the symposium, including officials from
central and local governments, environmental workers, scholars and
researchers, to thoroughly investigate the Taihu Lake crisis so as
to come up with concrete protection measures.
Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan, who attended the symposium,
demanded governments at all levels make every effort to prevent
algae bloom and ensure the safety of drinking water.
Zeng asked local governments to continue collecting the
blue-algae, intensify monitoring of water quality, ensure the water
supply and divert more water from the Yangtze River to flush out
He also asked environmental watchdogs to strengthen supervision
and punish factories that discharge pollutants into Taihu Lake.
The Taihu Lake crisis started last month, as the low water level
and the accumulation of waste and untreated sewage triggered the
rapid growth of blue algae, turning the water putrid and cutting
freshwater supply to more than 2 million residents.
Authorities diverted water from the Yangtze River to dilute the
lake water and used chemicals to treat the algae.
Workers have collected 6,000 tons of blue-algae from the lake,
and local health authorities say that tap water once again meets
Five officials in Yixing city have been punished in the wake of
the Taihu Lake pollution crisis.
The officials are the town head of Zhoutie, his deputy, a
lower-level town official in charge of environment protection and
two senior officials with the Yixing bureau of environment
protection, local sources said.
The officials were accused of dereliction of duty and received
demerits and demotions. But the sources declined to specify the
exact punishment of each official.
Plants discharging pollutants into Taihu Lake have been closed
off in Zhoutie town, the sources said.
(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2007)