Significant milestones reached in Hengdong's fight against pollution

By Zhou Xufeng and Guan Weiwei
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 17, 2017
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Laiyan Pagoda in Hengyang City. The water quality of the Heangyang section of the Xiangjiang River has improved markedly. [File photo]

Three years has passed since the lead poisoning incident caused by the Meilun chemical factory in the town of Dapu in Hengdong County, Hengyang City of central China's Hunan Province. Today, the situation has greatly improved thanks to a series of effective measures by the local government.

The factory has been shut down permanently. By May 2017, the local waste water disposal meets healthy standards, putting an end to the improper processes of polluted water disposal.

Two years ago, Hejiangtao Industrial Area in Hengyang was home to outdated chemical facilities, smelters and building materials factories. Environmental problems caused by the air pollutant emissions used to be a big headache to the locals. At present, all of the factory chimneys have been dismantled.

Within three years, a total of 117 heavy metal enterprises were shut down or transformed, and 71 pollution control projects were implemented in the city, improving the water quality of the Hengyang section of the Xiangjiang River significantly.

A special fund of 20 million yuan (US$2.94 million) was allocated to fight against soil pollution. Nine officials were investigated in relation to the incident.

In addition, among the 315 children living within 600 meters away from the Meilun chemical factory who had their blood tested for lead levels, 82 were found to have a blood lead level exceeding the defined limits and then received monitoring and medical treatment.

By January 23, 2017, 81 of them have returned back to normal, with one child undergoing further treatment.

"This is what we have been expecting, and we'll keep our efforts going to help these children recover," said a director of the Disease Prevention and Control of Hengdong County.

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