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Company Caught in Sewage Discharge

A top environmental official has called for a chemical company in Central China's Hunan Province to be severely punished after it was found to have discharged acidic sewage into local rivers.


Pan Yue, vice-minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), made the call after an investigation team led by him inspected the Hunan Zhuzhou Chemical Industry Group Co Ltd in the Qingshuitang Industrial Zone in Zhuzhou on Wednesday. Local residents had reported that the company had been polluting the environment.


The team found that sewage with a high acidity was being discharged directly into the Xiangjiang River by the company, one of the largest bases in the area for the production of chemical raw materials.


A test carried out immediately by investigators showed that the quantity of pollutants in the sewage surpassed the national limit and that the sewage greatly damaged the river's water quality.


The company, which produces vitriol, discharges 15 million tons of sewage each year and is the largest polluter in the industrial zone.


The investigation team found that a sub-plant of the company deliberately refrained from treating the sewage and stopped operations of its sewage treatment station.


The Zhuzhou Chemical Industry Group is just one of several polluting enterprises that have been uncovered by the investigators, who have been targeting central China's Hubei and Hunan provinces since late last month.


They discovered that many enterprises had restarted their operations and tried to avoid inspections after already having been ordered to stop production.


Pan's team is part of a national campaign aimed at controlling polluting enterprises. The campaign was initiated in late June by Pan's administration, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Supervision, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the Ministry of Justice and the State Administration for Safe Production Supervision.


(China Daily September 12, 2003)

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