China's SEPA slashes small chemical plants to curb pollution
China Daily 07/02/2007
Wen: Water quality a major priority
The management of the country's fresh water supplies should now be a major national priority and handled as a "State project", Premier Wen Jiabao温家宝 said.
Wen's comments come after a string of algae outbreaks tainted drinking water supplies.
Since May, blue-green algae outbreaks have been reported in eastern Taihu Lake 太湖, Chaohu Lake 中国最大の淡水湖巣湖（安徽省） and southwestern Dianchi Lake「さんずい偏に真」湖（雲南省）.
Pollution has largely been to blame.
"We need to take environmental management of the three lakes as a state project and put it at a more prominent, pressing and important position," Wen said at a meeting over the weekend on pollution control work of the three lakes in Wuxi of East China's Jiangsu Province.
"We should tackle the problem with scientific approach, good leadership, and high standards and confidence."
The priority is to protect the lakes from further pollution and ensure the safety of drinking water for the local residents, Wen said.
At the meeting, Wen instructed local officials to "strengthen supervision and ban factories from discharging pollutants into the lakes".
He also urged strengthened efforts to draft regulations on the environmental protection of the three lakes.
Stung by a series of water crises, the country will adopt a new national compulsory drinking water safety standard from this month to secure safe water supplies for citizens.
The new standard is the first amendment to the outdated former one, enacted in 1985.
According to the amendments, a total of 106 parameters have been developed.
"Safe drinking water is vital to people's health and, to a great extent, important to social stability as it's one of the primary and basic needs for human survival," Wang Xuening, deputy director general of the Bureau of Health Supervision under the Ministry of Health (MOH), said.
"Given the fact that amending work headed by MOH has convened specialists in fields like public health, environment protection, and water supply, and has solicited public opinions as well, the long-anticipated new standard would further improve the nation's drinking water safety and finally enhance people's quality of life."
Chen Changjie, a researcher on environment protection with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told China Daily that when all the parameters under the new standard are fully met, people should be able to drink water straight from the faucet.
"To be more exact, the tap water is safe to drink without boiling with the pretext of no second-time contamination during the transfusion, as long as the 42 regular parameters under the new standard are met," Chen said.
"Most of the time, the water fresh from the supplier is up to the standard and safe for direct use. However, the pipes used to deliver the water to the consumer remains substandard."
It is recommended that in the meantime, water intended for drinking should be boiled, Chen added.
The new standards define the basic condition of drinking water and safe quality on a national basis.
Other secondary parameters are devolved to provincial governments and given regional variations. It is expected that all standards be fully implemented nationally by 2012.
2007/7/14 Asia Chemical Weekly
China's SEPA slashes
small chemical plants to curb pollution
On Jul. 12, 2007, China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said that it planned to curb pollution at lakes by taking actions that include shutting small plants ( particularly the small-sized chemical, textile and dye plants) and suspending approvals for new projects,.
Factories discharging waste water into lakes will also need to hold permits from 2008; factories which could not meet emission standards will also have to be shut; all small paper, chemicals, textiles and dye factories will have to be closed by 2010. According to SEPA, it will stop approvals for projects which discharge heavy metals, nitrogen and phosphate into lakes.
SEPA aims to clean up serious pollution at lakes in China, especially in Taihu Lake (太湖) in Jiangsu Province, Chaohu Lake ( 巣湖) in Anhui Province and Dianchi lake ( さんずい偏に真) in Yunnan Province, which were polluted by blue algae severely.
In late May, Taihu Lake -
the third largest freshwater lake in China - was choked by an
algae bloom, and caused 2m Wuxi residents without clean tap water
for a few days.
Jiangsu Government plans to wash out 2150 small sized chemical plants around Taihu Lake by the end of 2008. According to the provincial government, it also plans to further restrict the new chemical projects which without the advanced process and technology.
In the future, the environment requirements of green-field chemical projects would be stricter in Jiangsu Province
New rules set for lake basin factories
Discharges from various industries into the Dianchi, Chaohu and Taihu Lake basins will be lowered due to spreading algae that feeds on chemical-rich pollutants.
Effluent thresholds have been raised for the iron and steel, iron alloy, coking, calcium carbide copper smelting and auto-making industries, said the nation's top environmental official, to stop degradation and improve water quality.
Zhou Shengxian, head of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), told a meeting on protecting lake quality held in East China's Anhui Province on Thursday that projects from those five industries without sufficient pollution prevention and treatment systems will be suspended.
Approval of new projects that have the potential to release heavy metals, nitrogen, phosphorus and organic pollutants is now forbidden, Zhou added.
A group of small factories for papermaking, brewing, chemical production, textile making and dyeing, will be closed down by 2010.
Zhou said pollution emissions in lakes will be strictly inspected. At the end of this year, factories unable to meet on pollution standards will be shut down.
After a one-year grace period, in 2008 all industries in the three lake basins will need to hold a license issued by the environmental watchdog, Zhou said.
SEPA made the decision following a large-scale outbreak of blue and green algae this summer in China's big freshwater lakes - Taihu and Chaohu in East China and Dianchi in Southwest China - which threatened the source of drinking water for local residents.
Blue and green algae grow rapidly in water overly rich in nutrition, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. SEPA is making it mandatory for wastewater treatment plants in the lake regions to upgrade their equipment to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus levels. Technological improvements are scheduled for completion in June 2008 at Taihu Lake and at the end of 2010 in other lake basins.
Not only industries, but also agriculture and fishing are included in the campaign for cleaner water.
SEPA will also control the amount of fertilizer used in the lake basins. Rural areas around Taihu Lake have also become part of the first pilot project in the countryside to construct treatment facilities.
Nets for fish farming in the three lakes were ordered to be removed by the end of 2008 to avoid introducing fish food into the water that increases nitrogen levels.
To support the central government's decision, local governments have also mapped out their plans.
Yunnan Province will fund 8.4 billion yuan in 2010 to treat Dianchi Lake water. Cities around Taihu Lake said they will spend 3 percent of their gross domestic product every year for water treatment.
New rules to curb "rampant" violations of pollution laws
China's environment chief on Thursday unveiled a set of tough new rules to tackle worsening lake pollution while lambasting the country's "bumpkin policies" that encouraged local officials to turn a blind eye to environmental hazards.
The regulations follow findings showing "rampant" violation of environment rules by almost nine in ten of the country's industrial parks and two fifths of companies.
Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), said the new rules covering China's three major lake areas -- the eastern Taihu Lake, Chaohu Lake and the southwestern Dianchi Lake -- included:
-- A ban on all projects involving discharges containing ammonia and phosphorus, and the turning down of existing applications to establish such projects.
-- A ban on the production, use and sales of detergents containing phosphorous around the lake drainage areas.
-- The removal of all fish farms from the three lake areas by the end of 2008.
-- A ban on fishponds, vegetable and flower farms that may involve the use of fertilizers within one kilometer of the lakeside.
Zhou outlined the measures at a special meeting on lake pollution in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province.
In the last two months, blue-green algae outbreaks have been reported in the three lake areas, endangering domestic water supplies. On July 4, water supplies to 200,000 people in Shuyang County, Jiangsu Province, were halted for more than 40 hours after ammonia and nitrogen were found in a local river.
"Environmental problems, if improperly handled, can trigger major social crises, and improving water quality has become our most urgent task," Zhou told environment officials.
He said illegal activities that harmed the environment were "rampant".
SEPA investigations showed 87.3 percent of the 126 industrial parks in 11 provinces had violated environment rules, allowing environmentally harmful companies into their parks.
They also showed half of the 75 wastewater-processing factories failed to properly process water or were not operating at all. Of 529 companies that SEPA inspected, 44.2 percent were violating environment rules.
"Hazards are everywhere, and environmental accidents are very likely to happen," he said.
Some local officials often relied on companies for GDP contribution and their own promotions, and failed in their responsibilities to supervise the companies' environmental impacts.
"We must get rid of all 'bumpkin policies' or protective local policies that sacrifice the environment for profit," Zhou said.
Frequent water pollution incidents also increased the cabinet's concern, as a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday stressed the need to amend the existing law on handling water pollution, allowing for harsher punishments.
China recorded 161 pollution accidents last year, according to the SEPA. The authorities shut down 3,176 polluting plants in a campaign in which the discharges of 720,000 companies were inspected last year, according to the SEPA.
SW China province outlines plan to clean polluted Dianchi Lake
Southwest China's Yunnan Province plans to spend 8.4 billion yuan (1.1 billion U.S. dollars) to tackle pollution in Dianchi Lake, the largest freshwater lake on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau.
The fund will be used to restore the size of the lake by reversing land reclamation, plant more trees around it and set up sewage treatment plants.
The project will also include the removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from the water with biological means such as planting waterweed and putting fish into the lake.
The provincial government would draw up environmental standard seven stricter than national rules on pollutant discharges and sewage disposal, said Governor Qin Guangrong.
The province has submitted the spending plan to the central government for approval.
Dianchi Lake remained heavily polluted despite expenditure of 4.76 billion yuan to clean it up in the past decade.
With an area of almost 300 square kilometers, Dianchi Lake, near Kunming, capital of Yunnan, has been diminishing since the 1980s, threatening water supplies in Kunming, with a population of1.5 million.
"Lack of clean water inflow is the fundamental reason why it is difficult to control pollution in Dianchi Lake," said He Bin, head of Yunnan Provincial Academy of Environmental Science, explaining that only eight percent of inflowing waters were clean.
This year the lake has suffered from blue green algae bloom, suffocating life in the lake and causing it to stink.
Erhai Lake, also in Yunnan, has been cleaned up after a series of measures, including a fishing ban for six months each year since 2004, and treatment of domestic sewage.
Erhai saw blooms of blue green algae in 1999 and 2003.
Blue-green algae outbreaks have been reported in three lakes --Dianchi, and Taihu and Chaohu in east China -- in the last two months. Last week, water supplies to 200,000 people in Shuyang county in east China's Jiangsu Province were halted for more than 40 hours after ammonia and azote polluted a local river.
Frequent water pollution also raised concern among the central government, as a State Council executive meeting this week stressed the need to amend the existing law on handling of water pollution, allowing for harsher punishment for illegal practices.
Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), said on Thursday that the government China would implement stricter environment rules on the three lakes.
All projects that involve discharges containing ammonia and phosphorus would be banned, and any on-going application to establish such projects would be turned down, Zhou said.
Nov. 12 (Xinhua)
High pollution fees to be imposed to improve Taihu Lake water quality
Factories around Taihu
Lake, a major body of fresh water in east China which provides
drinking water to 30 million people, will have to pay high fees
for discharging pollutants from 2008 after a serious algae
outbreak earlier this year.
Chemical plants will be asked to pay 10.5 yuan (1.4 U.S. dollars) for each kilogram of COD, short for chemical oxygen demand, a major index to measure pollution, according to a pollution payment plan made by the Jiangsu Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau.
The prices of COD per kg are set at 5.2 yuan, 1.8 yuan and 2.3 yuan for dyeing, paper-making and brewing factories, respectively, the plan says.
"The high prices will force polluting companies to upgrade their treatment facilities and reduce waste," said Zhu Tiejun, the bureau's deputy director.
Currently, the polluting factories only pay about one yuan for the treatment of their waste by special plants.
According to Zhu, the plan will first cover 266 key polluting factories near the lake. Based on the practice, fees will also be imposed for the discharge of other pollutants, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, from 2009.
The high pollution costs will force more than 1,000 small chemical factories to shut down, Zhu said.
About 30 million people in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai rely on Taihu Lake, China's third largest freshwater lake, as a drinking water source.
An algae outbreak at the end of May rendered tap water undrinkable for about 10 days for more than one million residents in Wuxi, a city in Jiangsu Province.
Chian Daily 2007/10/27
China announces $14b lake cleanup
China has announced a multibillion-dollar plan to clean up a severely polluted lake where an algae bloom forced the suspension of water supplies to millions of people this summer.
The $14.5 billion plan to clean up Taihu Lake, in a densely populated area northwest of Shanghai, should take five years, said a statement dated Friday and posted on a government website of the nearby city of Taizhou.
Taihu Lake is one of a few lakes where blooms of blue-green algae blamed on pollution have disrupted water supplies this year. Some types of the algae can produce dangerous toxins.
"The plan will control the eutrophication of Taihua Lake in five years and realize the clear improvement of water quality," the government statement said. "In another eight to 10 years, the problem of water pollution in the lake will be basically resolved."
The algae bloom on Taihu Lake in June prompted the suspension of running water in and around the major city of Wuxi for six days, forcing as many as 5 million people to rely on bottled water.
The algae covered as much as one-third of the 930-square-mile lake, a popular tourist attraction that has become badly polluted as the Wuxi area developed into a center for manufacturing and high technology.
Regulators responded by ordering the mass closure of chemical plants that dumped waste into the lake.