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China to halt approving new chemical projects

(China Youth Daily)

13:55, September 16, 2011

Edited and Translated by Han Shasha, People's Daily Online

China will suspend the approval of new chemical projects as frequent chemical pollution incidents have aroused increasing grievances from the public.

According to Zhang Lijun, vice minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, environmental protection departments at all levels will not accept applications for dangerous chemical production and storage projects.

Since the beginning of this year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has inspected and dealt with hundreds of incidents causing dangerous chemical pollution. Among these incidents, the Xin'an River pollution is the most serious one. On June 4, a tanker that carried phenol overturned and leaked the toxic chemical into the Xin’an River in east China's Zhejiang province, which disrupted the water supply in Hangzhou.

In 2010, the ministry launched a full-scale inspection of the chemical industry. Of all the 18,000 chemical enterprises, more than 3,000 plants were found having problems with pollution control. Most of the 40,000 enterprises that engage in petroleum, medicine and metallurgical production intensively locate along China's seven major rivers.

Zhang said that the main cause of the frequent chemical pollution incidents lies in the quickly increasing number of chemical plants. For these plants, their pollution control measures have lagged behind and they have not always carried out proper supervision. Although the outputs of most chemical productions rank number one in the world, most of the productions are produced by numerous small factories or workshops that are poorly regulated.

Chemical plants involving in severe pollution incidents, would be shut down, said Zhang.

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