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Deputies still have pollution on minds
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Pollution continues to spark debate and demands for reform throughout China, including from deputies to this year's People's Congress of Guangzhou, which ended Friday.

Focusing their attention largely on a tire manufacturer and a sludge-treatment plant in the city's Panyu district, several deputies there challenged the city's Environmental Protection Bureau, as well as the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Bureau, to provide explanations for the companies' actions.

However, the environmental bureau says that South China Tire & Rubber Co Ltd isn't polluting, just smelly.

Still, deputies asked why the company was allowed to expand its production by 50 percent instead of being relocated.

Other deputies, from the city's Huangpu district, asked the city's environmental watchdog and water-affairs bureau why the city's only sludge-treatment plant has stayed put despite its proposal in the past five years to relocate.

Deputies demanded to know why the tire and rubber plant was allowed to expand last year even though some say they didn't take sufficient measures to curb pollution.

A deputy claims the company has been emitting large amounts of sulfurous gas since it opened in 1991.

The tire and rubber firm has set up a new plant in Conghua, but there isn't a timetable for a relocation, he said, adding that deputies would challenge the authority again in the next congressional session if no action is taken this year.

Responding to the pollution claims, Yang Liu, chief engineer of the Guangzhou Environmental Protection Bureau, said that no excessive pollution from the plant had been found in more than a dozen visits during the past year, and no schedule is set for the relocation.

"What has been irritating people is the terrible smell," Yang said, referring to a byproduct of producing rubber.

But the concerns by Huangpu deputies perhaps contributed to the sludge treatment being moved away from sensitive noses.

The head of the city's environmental protection bureau, Ding Hong, said that the city government has agreed to relocate the plant - and its potent smell - in the future.

Ding did not, however, give further information about the relocation details.

(China Daily HK EditionFebruary 23, 2008)

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