China battles to stop diesel polluting Yellow River

More than 700 people are battling to prevent up a leak of diesel oil spilled into a Chinese river from reaching the Yellow River 70 kilometres away, state media said.

China battles to stop diesel polluting Yellow River

More than 700 people are battling to prevent up a leak of around 150,000 litres of diesel oil spilled into a Chinese river from reaching the Yellow River 70 kilometres away, state media said on Sunday.

The leak, from a pipeline owned by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in northwestern Shaanxi province, was discovered on Wednesday, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The company immediately closed the pipeline when the accident happened, the report added, but not before some of the diesel ended up in the Weihe River, a tributary of the Yellow River, a major water source for millions of people.

"The company has built 23 blocking belts on the rivers and the local government built three more dams to prevent leaked oil from flowing into the Yellow River," Xinhua said.

"A 700-people crew has been working on the clean-up. So far, much of the leaked oil and polluted silt has already been taken away," it added, citing the company as its source.

But diesel has been detected in the water 33 km from the leak, Xinhua said, and residents have been warned against using any of the river water.

"Preliminary investigation showed that the pipeline damage was caused by construction work of a third party," it further quoted the company as saying, without elaborating.

China periodically faces spills into rivers that result in water supplies being cut off, most seriously in 2005 when an explosion at an industrial plant sent toxic chemicals streaming into the Songhua river in northeastern city of Harbin, forcing the shutdown of water supplies to nearly 4 million people.

Run-off from heavy fertiliser use, industrial waste and untreated sewage also caused a foul-smelling algae bloom on a lake in the southern province of Jiangsu in 2007 that left tap water undrinkable in a city of more than 2 million.


Reuters

Last Mod: 04 Ocak 2010, 10:55
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