China has ordered all towns around Taihu, the lake that was
covered with a foul-smelling algae last month, to establish sewage
treatment plants and insisted that chemical factories meet a new
water emission standard by the end of June 2008.
The plan was announced at a meeting in Beijing on Monday, after
freshwater was shut off for more than 2 million people in Wuxi due
to the blue-algae infestation of the lake.
Towns must set up sewage treatment plants and are forbidden from
discharging untreated sewage to Taihu Lake and to rivers in the
Taihu valley. Existing plants must install nitrogen and phosphorus
removal facilities before the deadline, according to the plan.
Chemical factories that fail to meet the new water emission
standard risk suspension. They will be shut down permanently if
they still fail to meet the standard by the end of next June.
The new Chinese water emission standard for the Taihu valley
will raise the bar for sulfur dioxide emissions and chemical oxygen
The 20,000 chemical plants that cluster in the Taihu valley have
had a drastic effect on the water quality of the 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 flush out
the pollution, 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 were accused of dereliction of
duty and received demerits and demotions in the wake of the Taihu
Lake pollution crisis, local government sources said Monday.
(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2007)