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Harbin Holding Ice-snow Festival Despite Toxic Spill

Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, will hold its annual ice and snow festival from next month as scheduled despite the toxic spill in the Songhua River that resulted in its water supplies being cut for five days in November, the city's mayor said yesterday.

Shi Zhongxin said the water sources for ice and snow are now safe and the activities planned to start from January 5 promise to be well-organized and entertaining.

Workers have been extracting ice from the Jinshui River, a distributary of the Songhua in Harbin's outskirts, and making ice and snow sculptures for display at the festival.

According to the city tourism bureau, the festival will include skiing games, ice-snow art shows, sports competitions and cultural and tourism programs.

The festival debuted in 1985 and has since attracted tens of thousands of Chinese and foreign tourists.

A chemical plant explosion upstream in Jilin Province on November 13 caused the leak of a large amount of nitrobenzene into the Songhua River that is still working its way out to sea.

According to yesterday's latest environmental monitoring report, nitrobenzene levels have increased at Fujin, 65 km upstream of the city of Tongjiang where the Songhua joins the Heilongjiang.

The report said the concentration of nitrobenzene at Fujin was 0.0709 mg per liter at 4 AM on Wednesday, compared with 0.0193 at 8 PM the day before.

(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2005)

Songhua Pollution Sparks Rethink of Industrial Distribution
Environmental Impact of River Pollution Evaluated
Top Environment Official Inspects NE China Pollution
Songhua River Pollutant Density Sharply Down
Chemical Plants to Be Checked
Harbin's Hottest Event
Ice & Snow Festival Opens in Harbin
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