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3 stand trial for lake pollution in SW China
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Three executives of a chemical company stood trial on Tuesday for their roles in the arsenic pollution of a lake in the southwestern Yunnan Province, said local authorities.

The three defendants were Li Dahong, CEO of the fertilizer-producer Chengjiang Jinye Industry and Trade Co., Ltd, Li Yaohong, general manager of the company and Jin Dadong, who was in charge of production.

The case was heard in the people's court of Chengjiang county, Yuxi city. The trial will last three or four days, said an official with the court, who didn't disclose date of the sentence.

Yangzonghai Lake, which covers 186 square kilometers, was a drinking water source for 26,000 people. It was found to be contaminated with arsenic last June.

After inspection, local government found that the pollutant came from the Chengjiang Jinye Industry and Trade Co., Ltd. The company was ordered to close Sept. 17.

Twelve people from the local government, including Chen Zhifen, a vice mayor of Yuxi City, were removed from their posts due to dereliction of duty last October.

The local government is making efforts to improve water quality in the lake.

The environmental protection bureau of Kunming, Yunnan's capital, announced this March that the volume of arsenic had been lowered from 0.128 mg per liter to 0.111 mg per liter.

But Qin Guangrong, Yunnan's provincial governor, estimated that it would take three years to bring the density to a safe level, below 0.05 mg per liter, which cost about 4 billion yuan (about 0.6 billion US dollars).

(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2009)

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