World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

China to Minimize River Pollution Impact on Russia

Pledge to Minimize River Pollution Impact on Russia

The Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the government will try its utmost to minimize the impact of the contamination of northeast China's Songhua River on neighboring parts of Russia, including intensifying monitoring and water quality control measures.

"China is very concerned about the possible hazards to Russia and has informed its neighbor several times of the pollution," ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao said at a press conference. "Both have pledged to cooperate closely to handle the pollution."

At another press conference the same day, a senior State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) official said China will keep informing the Russian side of what it has learnt from monitoring the situation.

"The two sides are making specific arrangements for opening a hotline for the matter," said Zhang Lijun, deputy director of the SEPA.

He said the polluted water, which reached Heilongjiang's provincial capital Harbin on Thursday morning, is expected to flow into the Heilongjiang River (called the Amur River in Russia) on the Sino-Russian border in around 14 days judging from the current speed of flow.

Experts estimate that around 100 tons of pollutants containing benzene leaked into the river after the November 13 explosion at an upstream chemical plant run by China National Petroleum Corp's Jilin Petrochemical Company.

Cities along the river have been forced to suspend use of the river's water for various periods. Harbin, a city of more than 3 million residents, stopped drawing water from it for four days on Wednesday.

Zhang said that as the polluted water flows downstream, the density of pollutants has markedly decreased.

The pollutants, stretching over an area around 80 kilometers long, will be further diluted after they pass Harbin in around 40 hours as several major tributaries are to join the Songhua River, according to Zhang.

The amount of nitrobenzene in the water exceeded the national limit 29.9 times, and that of benzene 2.6 times when it passed Zhaoyuan between November 20 and 22. These figures have already fallen to about 10.7 and 0.08 times the national limits respectively, he said.

Measures already taken by local governments include blocking the entry of pollutants, discharging water from two reservoirs to dilute them, organizing experts to study control measures, and enhancing monitoring work, part of the environmental emergency response mechanism activated shortly after the explosion.

Premier Wen Jiabao ordered the environmental department and regional governments to take effective measures to guarantee the safety of potable water, and the State Council dispatched an expert group, headed by director of the National Bureau of Production Safety Supervision and Administration Li Yizhong, to Harbin to handle the situation.

Water supplies and active carbon used to purify water are being shipped to the affected areas.

A SEPA official said that no one has been harmed because the public was informed in a timely fashion.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

UN Report: Civilian Casualties Surged After Peace Talks Began In Afghanistan

Monitoring by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and the UN Human Rights Office has revealed that despite a drop in civilians killed and injured overall in 2020 there was a rise in civilian casualties following the start of peace negotiations ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>

WeBeliev: Scoop In Conversation With Abhishek Sinha, Founder Of WeBeliev, An NZ Crowdfunding Platform

WeBeliev supports 17 SDGs, launching sector specific campaigns every month Q. What is WeBeliev and why did you start it? A. WeBeliev is a Singapore-registered crowdfunding platform aimed at fundraising for all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ... More>>