All the lead processing firms in Jieshou City and Taihe County in east China's Anhui Province have been ordered to shut down until severe environmental pollution problems have been addressed.
The local environmental protection administration recently sent out a supervision team to Jieshou and Taihe to supervise the closure of the firms.
According to the local government, all the lead processing firms in Jieshou and Taihe will have to move their plants to a specially protected industrial zone and improve their pollution treatment facilities. Those that fail to do so will be closed permanently.
The areas surrounding the original plants are no longer allowed to grow grain crops and farmers have been asked to take medical examinations regularly.
The region around Tianying Town in Jieshou City and Xiaokou Town in Taihe County is the largest reprocessed lead production base in China, with output accounting for half of the country's total. But the low-level technology, illegal operation and neglecting of pollution preventive measures in the firms have caused several severe lead poisoning cases in the region. In June this year, the region was listed one of eight worst regions with pollution problems by the State Administration of Environmental Protection.