This port city in east China's Fujian Province has decided to put a highly
polluting chemical project on hold, authorities said yesterday.
"The Xiamen city government has decided to suspend construction
of the PX (paraxylene) plant in Haicang District," vice-mayor Ding
Guoyan told press after an internal meeting of the municipal
Paraxylene is a cancer-causing petrochemical. It is used to make
purified terephthalic acid, a raw material for producing polyester
film, packaging resin and fabrics. Health experts say it can cause
The 10.8 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) project by Tenglong
Aromatic PX (Xiamen) Co Ltd was expected to generate revenues of 80
billion yuan a year. Its planned location, 16 km from the city
center, raised public fears.
Ding said the project had passed an environmental evaluation by
an expert panel before it was approved by the National Development
and Reform Commission.
"Its evaluation and approval was strictly in line with China's
laws and regulations," he said.
But the project has drawn criticism in the past two months. Some
compared it to an "atomic bomb". About one million text messages
were sent to pressure the government to cancel the project.
"The city government has listened to the opinions expressed and
has decided, after careful deliberation, that the project must be
re-evaluated," Ding said.
The planned location of the project is in a development zone in
Haicang, a district with more than 100,000 residents.
One residential area is less than 1,500 m from the plant, and
Gulangyu and Piano islands, the city's tourist destinations, are
only 7 km from the site.
(Xinhua News Agency May 31, 2007)