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Fishermen Compensated for Yangtze River Pollution

A total of 1,495 households engaged in fishery and breeding of aquatic products in Ziyang and Neijiang, two cities in southwest China's Sichuan Province, have been compensated for their losses caused by a major pollution case on Tuojiang, a Yangtze River tributary.  

Officials from the Office for Supervision with the provincial government said that Sichuan Chemicals Group, which is held responsible for the massive pollution on the Tuojiang River caused by unprocessed huge amounts of waste water containing high content of nitrogen and ammonia, has paid over 11 million yuan (US$1.33 million) to compensate fishermen and relevant local bureaus of aquatic products for the losses they suffered.


According to the officials, 3.5 million yuan of the money, for covering losses caused by the deaths of a large number of fish in the Tuojiang River, went to bureaus of aquatic products of Sichuan Province, and of Ziyang and Neijiang cities to cover financing needed to release new fish fries into the river, resume, protect and administer fishing resources there and to restore the ecological system of the Yangtze River tributary.


And another 8.2 million yuan, which is used to cover losses suffered by fishermen on the river in Ziyang and Neijiang cities, were distributed to 1,495 households affected in the pollution case.


From Feb. 11 to March, workers with the second chemical fertilizer plant of Sichuan Chemicals Co. Ltd., a Sichuan Chemicals Group subsidiary, which is the province's largest chemical producer based in Qingbaijiang District in Chengdu, the provincial capital, didn't operate sewage processing equipment because of machinery malfunction, discharging unprocessed huge amounts of waste water with high content of nitrogen and ammonia into the river.


A large number of fish was killed by the pollution which also caused days of water supply cutoff to over one million residents downstream. Direct economic losses caused by the pollution were set at 100 million yuan.


The accident also led to the downfall of Xie Muxi, president of Sichuan Chemicals Group and chairman of its subsidiary Sichuan Chemicals Co. Ltd., who was blamed for having "neglected his supervisory duties" as the chief leader in the pollution mishap.


Before Xie's resignation came the fine of one million yuan (US$120,000) imposed on the company for the massive pollution of the Tuojiang River.


Another five officials of the company, all held responsible for the disaster, have been handed over to judicial authorities for prosecution, said Ou Zegao, secretary for the Politics and Law Commission of the Sichuan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).


(Xinhua News Agency May 27, 2004)

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