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Industrial Polluters Shut, Punished

Yesterday, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) made public its investigations into four major cases of pollution in Chongqing Municipality and the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan and Sichuan.

More than 40 paper mills and goldmines involved have had their licenses revoked or were shut down, said the SEPA, after severely polluting rivers and damaging the surrounding environment, eliciting massive complaints from local residents.

In Tongliang County in Chongqing, 30 paper mills dumped wastewater into local rivers: 28 into the Xiao'anxi River and two into the Fujiang.

The operation licenses of three that failed to meet environmental standards were revoked; 14 that met standards have been ordered to strengthen management; and all those ordered to install pollution-reducing equipment will have to be reassessed before restarting operations. The municipal government has sent working groups to supervise the work.

In Lianhua County in Jiangxi, the local government closed down a paper mill, the Lianhua Paper Manufacturing Co. Ltd., that discharged wastewater into the Lianjiang River. Its production facilities and electrical supply has been demolished, and the personnel responsible penalized, according to the SEPA.

In Guangyuan City, Sichuan, 37 illegal goldmines whose operations have blocked courses of the Jialing River were closed down.

One hundred and fourteen wellheads have been sealed and equipment blown-up or demolished, said the SEPA. A number of local government officials, including Li Peihong, director of local environmental protection bureau, and Zhang Jiuzhong, director of the city land resources bureau, were given administrative punishments for dereliction of duty.

In Hunan, the municipal government of Changsha has been instructed by the SEPA to handle 422,000 tons of chromium residue left by the Changsha Dichromate Plant shut down in 2003.

Changsha pledged to completely resolve the issue by the end of 2008 while taking temporary measures, such as building walls around the residue dumping ground, to prevent it from being carried by the wind, according to the SEPA.

The SEPA vowed to continue its fight against polluters, warning local governmental officials not to support them.

(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn June 24, 2005)

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