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Blacklisted Chemical Plant to Be Relocated
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A Guangzhou chemical plant blacklisted by the national environmental protection watchdog will be removed from its location in a residential area by 2008, Guangzhou media reported Thursday.

The Guangzhou Hoton Chemical (Group) is one of the 11 plants blacklisted by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) on Tuesday for causing excessive pollution.

SEPA said that Hoton did not have any warning signs or facilities to deal with possible chemical spills, even though there are more than 12,000 people living within a 500-meter radius of the plant and 100,000 residents within a 1,500-meter radius.

The occurrence of a chemical spill would lead to a disaster, the watchdog said. It required the plant to be moved out of the residential area. The plant was also asked to establish necessary facilities to deal with emergencies.

Guangzhou government said it would hold an appraisal meeting Friday with environmental protection experts to discuss ways of moving the plant.

The government has chosen suburban Nansha District as the plant's new location. The plant, founded in 1956, is a key raw chemical production base of Guangzhou.

The city government has established a taskforce to deal with the moving of the Hoton plant. It plans to finish an initial feasibility report in the first half of this year and began construction of the plant's new site in 2007. The new plant is expected to be finished in June or July 2008, and the moving will be completed by the end of 2008.

The government said it would also conduct an overhaul of the city's chemical plants by June. Any plants found to have potential dangers or posing serious environmental threats would be asked to install or upgrade the required facilities.

Apart from Hoton, eight other old plants in Guangzhou, mainly chemical factories, would also be moved out of the urban area by 2010, the government said.

An expressway connecting Guangdong's Yangjiang and Maoming was also criticized by SEPA on Tuesday, along with nine others in the nation, for failing to incorporate environmental protection requirements in its design.

The 11 enterprises blacklisted by SEPA were identified in a nationwide survey of 78 factories, which began after a November chemical spill in northeast China's Songhua River.

SEPA will conduct a second round of checks on 127 chemical or petrochemical projects for environmental threats.

Previous government reports have said that more than 70 percent of China's rivers and lakes are polluted, while the underground water in 90 percent of Chinese cities is polluted.

(Shenzhen Daily February 10, 2006)

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