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Amazing and incredible, isn't it. The citizens living/working under such a heath-threatening environment China is still a heathy nation.And among 350 million smokers,smoking population getting younger.|
Just another example among the other river/air pollution, unsafe food news.
Polluting smelters shut down after damaging farmers' skin
By Cui Xiaohuo and Gong Zhengzheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-10-15 08:57
WUHAN: Thirteen alloy smelting plants which have damaged farmers' skin and heavily polluted their fields were closed Tuesday, Hubei provincial authorities said.
An inspection team led by environmental, health and supervision officials from the Hubei provincial government arrived in Jianli county, 200 km from provincial capital Wuhan, late Tuesday afternoon.
"There are still three plants operating right now. We will close them tonight," Wen Qingsong, deputy head of the Hubei environmental protection bureau, told China Daily by phone Tuesday.
"We removed the plants in 2006, but they came back strong this year. The local environmental bureau did its job. We will investigate how many farmers were affected, who is responsible and whether there was misconduct by local officials," he said.
Local farmers in the 1.5 million-strong Jianli county have suffered severe rashes and other skin ailments since March this year, when local industrialists and their counterparts from nearby Hunan province opened plants to smelt the highly profitable alloy element vanadium, local media reported.
In the absence of proper procedures, waste emitted by these underground plants contained toxic cadmium and arsenic.
Plants often dumped waste into local water networks, contaminating the fields and salinating shaft water.
"We can only leave the cotton to rot now," farmer Shi Qiang told Hubei-based Changjiang Times newspaper. "Once we get in the field, we become itchy all over the body. Our skin even swells up and becomes rotten."
The contaminated water also spread to several villages with illegal vanadium plants, plaguing tens of thousands of hectares of fields.
Workers were burning vanadium stones at a 2,000 sq m plant in Xiongzhou village on Oct 9, local media reported, as white smoke billowed from chimneys and tea-colored water seeped into the Laojiang River nearby.
Neighboring Hunan province, though rich in vanadium, had earlier shut down all illegal plants.
Many Hunan plant owners then moved their business to Hubei.
Local environmental authorities tried to stop the illegal plants from operating in 2006 but their efforts largely failed as plants reopened.
There are nine such plants in Jianli alone, and several others in Shishou and Jiangling counties.
Grain depots and kilns have also been turned into new vanadium plants