Experts and the public have expressed strong concern over the
possible environmental impact of the construction of a massive
chemical plant in Xiamen, east China's Fujian Province, Outlook
Weekly reported yesterday.
The Taiwan-funded Xianglu Group has begun building the plant,
which will have an annual output of 800,000 tons of p-Xylene, in
the Haicang District of the city.
The project has stirred huge controversy due to its location,
just 7 km from the city center and only 1.5 km from the nearest
In a bid to garner support for their cause, residents have been
forwarding a popular text message to friends and family asking them
to join in their protest against the new plant, the Southern
Metropolis Daily reported yesterday.
The message said the project was like an "A-bomb" the newspaper
Zhao Yufen, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences,
has proposed the plant be relocated to avoid the possible threat of
pollution in the future.
Led by Zhao, who is also a member of the Chinese People's
Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top
political advisory body, 105 political advisors submitted a
suggestion during the annual session of the CPPCC in March asking
for the plant to be relocated.
"It is against international conventions to build such a
large-scale chemical plant so close to a residential area," Zhao
said, adding that it would normally be located at least 100 km from
the nearest urban area for safety reasons.
"P-Xylene is highly toxic and carcinogenic", Zhao said.
Despite people's concerns, the local environment bureau told
local media on Monday that the project had passed an environmental
pre-evaluation test, as its pollutant discharge level was just half
the national standard.
"But whatever preventive measures are taken, there is always the
possibility of an accident happening," Zhao said, citing a chemical
plant blast in 2005 in Jilin, Jilin Province, which led to about
100 tons of toxic benzene compounds being spilled into the
"We are not against the project, but just say its location
should be changed," Zhao said.
Xiamen is a coastal city known for its pleasant climate and
clean environment. It is not suitable for a large-scale chemical
plant, she said.
In an interview with China Business News, Zhao said that
economic considerations might be behind the support from the local
"The project and its second phase are expected to add 80 billion
yuan to Xiamen's GDP, which would be hard to resist for a city that
posted figures of 112 billion yuan for the whole of last year," she
(China Daily May 30, 2007)