The source of drinking water for local residents in Yueyang
County in central China's Hunan Province has been found polluted with
arsenide, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA)
said in a press release on Saturday.
At 15:00 PM Friday, workers of the environmental monitoring
center of Yueyang City conducted a routine measuring of water
quality for Xinqiang River, the source for local water plant, and
found that its content of arsenide was 10 times higher than
The incident drew great attention from the State Council and
The provincial government of Hunan initiated an emergency plan
for dealing with environmental accidents, while a headquarters to
handle the accident was been set up in the county with a population
of over 100,000. The SEPA has sent a group of officials and experts
to the site.
Local authorities have issued a circular to warn residents not
to drink the tap water. Meanwhile, 18 fire engines have been sent
to distribute drinking water to the people.
At 1:00 AM Saturday, the Tieshan Reservoir on the upper streams
began increasing its discharge of water to help dilute the
pollution in the river and accelerate the speed of water flow of
the polluted river.
Local authorities have also allowed to use underground water
source, which is able to supply 1,500 tons of clean drinking water
to the residents.
Currently, local environmental departments have uncovered the
source of pollution -- a chemical plant in Linxiang City, 50
kilometers upriver, where the leakage of a waste water pond caused
Now the factory has been shut down.
According to environmental experts, arsenic trioxide is a kind
of white powder which is very poisonous. Humans poisoned with
arsenide may feel sick, vomit, get stomach pain, convulsion in
limbs. It may lead to coma, twitch or even death.
A chronic intake of arsenide by humans may cause damages to
liver and kidney or lung cancer and skin cancer.
(Xinhua News Agency September 10, 2006)