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Illegal dumping pollutes water

(China Daily)

13:40, August 15, 2011

A pond in Qujing, Yunnan province, which was heavily contaminated by illegally dumped toxic industrial waste. (China Daily Photo)

BEIJING - More than 5,000 tons of highly toxic industrial waste were dumped illegally in rural areas near a Southwest China city, causing livestock deaths and soil and water pollution, local authorities said over the weekend.

Water resources experts arrived on Sunday to assess the condition of the Nanpan River, which is the source of the Pearl River, Quan Ende, deputy head of the publicity department in Qujing city of Yunnan province, said on Sunday.

Two truck drivers illegally dumped 5,222 tons of chromium compound waste, a highly toxic heavy metal, in three townships in Qujing city between the end of April and June, the city's publicity department said in a statement on Saturday.

The drivers, identified as local residents Wu Xinghuai and Liu Xingshui, were under contract with Yunnan Province Luliang Chemical Industry Co Ltd, a local chromium producer, to ship the waste to a treatment plant in neighboring Guizhou province, according to the statement.

But the men never made the delivery; instead, they dumped the waste and saved the transport costs, local authorities said.

Both have been placed under arrest.

"Production has been halted at the plant," said a company executive surnamed Pan. "I don't know when it will resume."

Pan added that the company had to take responsibility for the pollution because of its failure to supervise the drivers.

The problem came to the attention of local authorities on June 12, when villagers reported that goats grazing near the dumping sites had died.

The authorities found later that the goats had been killed by drinking water polluted by the chemical waste.

The statement said 77 livestock died from the pollution, with water in a pond and a small reservoir near the dumping sites heavily contaminated with chromium compounds, according to the statement.

However, local authorities said that the pollution had not caused any human deaths or injuries because the source of drinking water for local villagers was far away from the dumping sites.

Water quality in the parts of the Nanpan River that pass through the city wasn't affected, the authorities added.
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