Forty-six companies along the Songhua River in Harbin have been
exposed for causing serious pollution, part of an attempt by local
authorities to clean up the tainted waterway.
The companies are the first group of polluters to be exposed and
have been ordered to clean up their act immediately, according to
Harbin Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
The Songhua River is listed by the State Environmental
Protection Administration (SEPA) as one of the most heavily
polluted rivers in the country.
It gained notoriety after a blast at a chemical plant in
November led to water supply in Harbin, capital of northeast
China's Heilongjiang Province, being cut off for four
According to Meng Fanfeng, director of the bureau's information
office, this move to expose polluters is just the start.
"The 46 companies are the first batch, as more companies still
need to be inspected," he said.
"By exposing these companies in the media, we hope that it will
raise people's awareness of river protection and we invite the
public to keep an eye on these companies.
"The move shows our determination to stamp out heavy polluting
industrial sources along the river, which could jeopardize water
"Anyone who contaminates the river will be punished," Meng
"If they do make changes for the better and meet the standard in
a timely way, they will be removed from the 'blacklist.' If not,
more severe punishments will follow," he noted.
Li Xinglong, senior engineer from the Heilongjiang Provincial
Environmental Science Institute who has observed water conditions
in the river for years, welcomed the move.
"These industrial pollution sources are definitely the main
contributors of pollutants and are responsible for the
deterioration of water conditions," he said.
Li is also glad that the campaign has gained State-level
attention and support.
"For years we have been craving a substantial or fundamental
change in the approach to dealing with its water pollution. I hope
this time is for real," he said.
(China Daily July 10, 2006)