A Little More Fall-Out from Songhua River Spill?

China Daily ran an article last week that the State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) has been evaluating state-owned enterprises. (China Daily 8/23). Four received grades of D and two received a failing grade of E. The consequences of a poor performance evaluation could be not only cut in bonus and salary but also possible dismissal. China National Petroleum Corp. was among 4 companies that was downgraded because of safety or environmental violations, but it was not clear from the article what the actual grade of CNPC was.

NPC Finds Little Progress on Pollution

Based on a 15 province inspection conducted in May, the NPC’s Environment and Resources Protection Committee found that the pollution control efforts continue to lag. (SCMP 8/27) NPC Vice-Chairman Sheng Huaren pointed to fraud by local officials in reporting pollution figures and a failure to make pollution reduction a priority. ” “Many firms report a lower figure for chromium waste for fear of being punished,” said Sheng Huaren, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), on Saturday when briefing lawmakers on the report.” For example, “A locality earlier reported that they had only 3,000 tons of chromium waste but raised the figure to 100,000 tons after they learned that the government would build reprocessing facilities for them instead of fining them, said Sheng.” (Xinhua 8/26) Other issues are underfunded pollution control efforts.

Spill Cuts Of Water Supply to City in Shaanxi Province

A tanker truck spilled 25 tons of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) into a municipal reservoir for the city of Hancheng in Shaanxi province on Friday. (NY Times/AP 8/27). As a result the water supply for about 100,000 people in the city (total population about 400,000) was cut off for 2 days. After neutralizing with some 10 tons of hydrochloric acid, the water supply was restored on Sunday.

Songhua Tributary Spill not as Bad as Feared

Now officials say that the slick is not as serious as was feared, probably because of the early intervention. (China Daily 8/25) . It turns out that the Changbaishan Jingxi Chemical Co. in Jilin dumped 10 tons of industrial waste into the Mangniu river. According to China Daily, the facility “has been ordered to stop production and culprits have been punished” . . . whatever that means. Maybe letters of self-criticism?

It’s ironic (but not surprising, I suppose) that not even a year after the big benzene spill in Jilin, another company wilfully releases such a significant amount of toxic waste into the river. What happened to the “Environmental Storm” that SEPA has been pursuing? Seems to have been more of a gentle breeze . . .

Chemical Spill into Tributary of Songhua River

Xinhua News Agency ran a story reporting on a chemical spill into the Mangniu river, a tributary to the Songhua river. (Xinhua 8/23) The spill apparently occurred on Monday (8/21), and officials believe that it was due to an illegal discharge by the Changbaishan Jingxi Chemical Co. The tributary passes through the city of Jilin, which was the site of last November’s big benzene spill. The major pollution component of the 5 kilometer long pollution slick seems to be Xylidine.

Unlike the benzene spill into the Songhua last year, official response to this spill appeared to be much better. Three dams were built, including 2 containing active charcoal to filter the chemicals. So far, none of the pollutants have been detected in the Songhua river.

Searching Chinese Language News Headlines

I recently heard about a website (http://search.adsotrans.com/) (in beta version) that allows the searching of Chinese language on-line news headlines. In essence, it allows a user to type some search terms in English, which are then translated and searched. The output is a a set of news story items whose titles are re-translated into English. I tried it out and it comes up with some useful items.

However, any user should be aware that it does not replace some fundamental Chinese reading ability since most of the translated titles are close to gibberish. However, there is probably enough there to allow one to determine whether certain key words appear or whether the article might be somewhat relevant.

Unfortunately, the website provides no information about the author’s background or contact. So, user beware.