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Keep polluters from Yangtz River, says Chinese political advisor
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09:52, March 08, 2009

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China should keep potential polluters away from the industry-heavy Yangtze river, the country's longest, by raising threshold and readjusting industrial layout, a political advisor said in Beijing Saturday.

"We must set quotas on and raise threshold for potential polluting plants along the Yangtze River to wipe out pollution from the roots," said Chen Qinghua, a member of the 11th National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the top political advisory body.

A monthly report on China's surface water quality showed the Yangtze River was slightly polluted in December 2008 and its branches suffered medium-level pollution, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

China's sizzling economy has seen a surge of heavily polluting industries along the lower valley of the Yangtze River.

Nearly 10,000 of the 21,000 chemical companies in China are along the 6,300 km-long Yangtze River, according to Chen. More than 20 chemical industry parks were under construction.

Local governments had built more than 40,000 reservoirs along the river and its branches in a scrabble for water resources, which has further degraded Yangtze's ecological system, he said.

The government was expanding domestic demand and increase investment amid the global financial crisis, he said.

"We should take the opportunity to improve sewage treatment facilities in cities, and move faster to readjust industrial layout and structure along the river," said Chen, also chief of the Jiangxi Provincial Committee of the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (RCCK), one of China's eight non-Communist parties.

China has seen a spate of industrial accidents along major rivers that disrupted water supplies in cities in recent years.

In the latest incident, at least 200,000 residents in Yancheng,a city in eastern Jiangsu Province, were deprived of tap water supply for three days last month after a chemical factory illegally dumped the disinfectant phenol into a local river.

The city mayor promised earlier this month to shut 33 of the city's 317 chemical plants to check contamination.


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