The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) yesterday issued an emergency notice asking for checks to be conducted on chemical plants and other potential sources of pollution along rivers.
The inspections will target on large and medium-sized enterprises along major rivers and their tributaries, especially chemical plants in water-source areas or densely populated regions.
The SEPA also asked local environmental protection bureaus to work out emergency plans and examine chemical plants' waste treatment facilities.
The nationwide checks will last until the end of next month and the SEPA will dispatch supervisory groups to provinces including Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Anhui and Liaoning.
The circular came after the toxic benzene spill in Songhua River caused by a chemical plant explosion in northeast China's Jilin Province that resulted in water supplies being cut off in downstream cities and now threatens neighboring Russia.
SEPA director Xie Zhenghua resigned last Friday.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2005)