February 7, 2006
China Names and Shames 11 Industrial Polluters
BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Tuesday named and shamed 11 companies, including large metals smelters, for heavy pollution from their factories.
The companies targeted as having "serious problems," including Baiyin Nonferrous Metals Co. and Xingtai Iron and Steel Co. Ltd., had to improve and clean up the offending projects or face closure orders and fines, the State Environmental Protection Administration said on its Web site, www.zhb.gov.cn.Baiyin is China's seventh-largest copper producer with annual production of about 100,000 tonnes and Xingtai has an annual steel production of 2.4 million tonnes.
Before it named the 11 companies, the administration investigated 127 factories across the country following a November chemical spill in the Songhua River, which forced cities in northeastern Heilongjiang province to shut taps to millions of people.
The administration received official reports of 45 other pollution accidents in the two and a half months after the Songhua spill, and nine were caused by factories illegally expelling pollutants, an official was quoted as saying by the People's Daily on Tuesday.
In January, three officials of a south China smelter were arrested after the plant dumped 1,000 tonnes of waste water contaminated with cadmium into Guangdong province's Beijiang River, causing several towns to go without water for days.
"In the long run, the industrial structure and localized environmental crises will replace individual polluters as the number one environmental threats in the country," administration vice director Pan Yue was cited as saying.
Pan also named 10 metals, transportation and power projects under construction or in trial operation near rivers, areas of dense population and ecological protection zones as posing serious environmental dangers.
Those projects include an alumina refinery with an annual capacity of 300,000-tonne in Pingdingshan, central Henan province, a 300,000-tonne urea factory in northern Shanxi province and a natural gas power plant in the eastern city of Hangzhou.
The exposed factories and projects had to submit reform proposals within a month or face fines and orders to shut production or construction, the environmental protection administration said.