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Graphite pollution: Lead in Jixi's water 700 times over national limit

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In recent years, the rise of the lithium battery has led to a surge in the price for graphite, the raw material used in the lithium battery. But just as prices rise, so does pollution. In the city of Jixi, in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, graphite production has led to massive pollution of crops and water.

The moment you arrive in Jixi, you are flanked by billboards advertising graphite. One of the city's graphite plants is surrounded by a concentration of smaller villages. People here have long suffered from the discharges of their dirty neighbor.

"The corn we grow is covered with black pollutants. One of my clients even rejected my corn, saying it held too much lead." A villager said.

And the pollution doesn't stop with crops, drinking water has also been contaminated, with rivers turning muddy as they run past the graphite plants.

Local villagers use pumps to get their water. Even after filtering it through thick sponge mats, the water still comes out yellow. The bright, oily spots on the surface, is graphite.

Water samples were taken to a laboratory for testing. They showed lead content was 700 times the national limit, while mercury was a mere 9 times above the accepted level.

So what did graphite manufacturers think about this?

"My company strictly complies with the national regulation on graphite mining. We have to protect the environment." A graphite manufacturer said.

In 2012, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology passed access rules for the graphite industry. One of these banned excessive discharge of pollutants, and required strict production standards to protect the environment.


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