Environmental Protection Drive Eyes Reducing Heavy Metal Pollution

March 21st, 2012 by Steve

10:24, March 21, 2012  

BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) — Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxianhas underlined heavy metal pollution as a key issue in the country’s pollutionprevention efforts, vowing strengthened supervision on the industry.

In a special campaign last year, law enforcement workers checked more than 1 millioncompanies and spotted some 10,000 environment-related issues. Among these cases,many occurred in the country’s lead battery industry.

In September last year, the president of a battery company in eastern Zhejiangprovince was sentenced to 15 months in prison after untreated industrial emissionsfrom his plant poisoned 168 villagers, who were found to have elevated levels of leadin their blood.

Exposure to high levels of lead can damage the digestive, nervous, and reproductivesystems, health experts say.

“With the experiences from dealing with the lead battery industry, local environmentalprotection departments must conduct all-round checks on key heavy metal companies,especially concerning their mining and smelting processes,” Zhou said Tuesday at ajoint meeting held by nine government departments including the Ministry ofEnvironmental Protection and the Ministry of Justice

According to Zhou, provincial-level environmental protection departments shouldpublicize a list that includes the names of all the companies in the fields of heavynonferrous metal mining, smelting, leather tanning and galvanization under theirjurisdiction by the end of June for public scrutiny, along with their records ofenvironment-related violations and rectification progress.

Local departments were also told to conduct strengthened supervision on theproduction, use and disposal of dangerous and harmful waste, with a special focus onsewage disposal factories.

Admitting that the country’s overall environmental situation is still deteriorating, Zhoucalled upon companies and government departments to explore more efficient andsustainable ways to protect the environment and crack down on heavy metal pollution.

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