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Five officials suspended after S China river pollution


19:45, July 10, 2013

NANNING, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Five officials have been suspended after a river was polluted because of illegal sewage discharge in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, local authorities said Wednesday. < Zhou Shengning, deputy director of the administration committee of Pinggui Administrative District of Hezhou City and four other local officials were suspended from their posts for failure to prevent contamination in Hejiang River, said the municipal committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) of Hezhou City.

The pollution was first detected on Saturday, when authorities in Fengkai County in neighboring Guangdong Province said a local river had been tainted by upstream pollution.

Police traced the source of the pollution to an ore-processing company located on the upper reaches of the Hejiang River in Hezhou.

The polluter, Huiwei Ore-processing Company, had been illegally producing indium and discharging effluents that contained toxic cadmium and thallium near a river, a police investigation showed.

Cadmium and thallium were tested to have reached more than 5.6 times the recommended level in the river near the polluter, local environmental authorities said Tuesday.

A campaign launched last year across the autonomous region following a cadmium pollution case found 79 companies failed to comply with local environmental standards, said Yang Zhongxiong, deputy director of the Bureau of Environmental Protection of Hezhou.

However, insufficient oversight of mining activities carried out by small-scale miners tucked in the mountainous region pose risks of toxic leaks in rivers that converge with downstream water sources in south China, according to Lei Shaohua, director of the Land Resources Bureau of Hezhou.

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