Home / News Type Content Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Major Water Sources at Risk
Adjust font size:

Great risks have been found with the location of chemical and petrochemical operations around China's main sources of water and preventive and responsive mechanisms should be improved, according to a press release issued yesterday by the nation's top environmental watchdog.

Lessons were learned from the Songhua River pollution incident last November. In order to tackle environmental risks associated with the chemical and petrochemical industries in major areas of water, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), in cooperation with local environmental protection agencies nationwide, launched on February 7 a stringent inspection program designed to eliminate any possible pollution caused by these industries.

Some 127 projects with total investments of 450 billion yuan (US$55 billion) were selected for the program. SEPA directly inspected 20 of them and published the results yesterday. The remaining 107 are still under the inspection of local environmental protection agencies and the results will be published before May 20.

"SEPA targeted the 20 large projects because there is potential danger due to their sensitive locations," Pan Yue, vice director of SEPA, said yesterday. Of these projects, 11 are located in the Yangtze River valley including one in the Three Gorges Reservoir area and two along the Tanglang River, a tributary of Yangtze, in the lower reaches of Dianchi Lake. 

The remaining nine projects include one in the Yellow River valley, two in Dalian Bay, one each in Dayao Bay, Jiaozhou Bay and Hangzhou Bay, and one on the bank of the South China Sea.

Among these projects some are new and the others are being expanded. They are either important petrochemical businesses involving oil refining and ethylene or hot chemical projects involving methanol and polycarbonate.

The total investment of these 20 projects was 60.57 billion (US$7.56 billion). As a result of the inspection, 1.6 billion yuan (US$197 million) more will be invested as special fund to improve their environmental protection facilities, with an initial input of 589 million yuan (US$74 million) already at hand, according to Pan.
The mid-term results reveal that four risks have been identified as prominent with these chemical and petrochemical plants adjacent to major waterways in China. Issues highlighted include:

Unreasonable distribution. Some chemical and petrochemical plants are located upstream of the water source or close to residential areas, which has the potential to pose a health threat. 

Unreasonable development. A lot of new chemical plants were built and existing facilities expanded despite limited environmental resources. The banks of important water sources were dotted with chemical plants and docking facilities for dangerous chemical products.

Unclear system of accountability due to erratic planning. A unified regional environmental risks response plan, monitoring system and risk prevention measures were required.

Low environmental risk consciousness and imperfection in preventive and response mechanisms.

"Environmental risks caused by unreasonable distribution cannot be solved in one or two days as relocation of these projects would incur huge costs," said Pan. "Some passive remedial measures have to be taken to reduce the risks."

In the future, environmental risk evaluation should be conducted before approval is given to a variety of large projects. Environmental risks caused by the unreasonable distribution of industry in the past few years could only be solved gradually by industry restructuring itself, Pan added.

(China.org.cn by Zhang Yunxing, April 6, 2006)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Chemical Plants to Be Checked
- Top Environment Official Inspects NE China Pollution
- Songhua Pollution Sparks Rethink of Industrial Distribution
- ChemChina to Invest US$8.93b in Project
- Safety Code to Manage Dangerous Chemicals
- Harbin Vows to Improve Water Quality of Songhua River
- Safe Drinking Water Tops Agenda in Heilongjiang
Most Viewed >>
- World's longest sea-spanning bridge to open
- Yao out for season with stress fracture in left foot
- 141 seriously polluting products blacklisted
- China starts excavation for world's first 3G nuclear plant
- Irresponsible remarks on Hu Jia case opposed 
- 'The China Riddle'
- China, US agree to step up constructive,cooperative relations
- FIT World Congress: translators on track
- Christianity popular in Tang Dynasty
- Factory fire kills 15, injures 3 in Shenzhen

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys