Chemical factory causes citizen reaction

Despite assurances of environmental safety, experts and locals alike are wary about a petrochemical plant planned for west China's Three Gorges Reservoir area.

"I suggest holding a referendum, as this kind of project cannot be decided by a small group of people," said a netizen named Jialin from Shanghai.

BASF, the German petrochemical giant, said yesterday it expected the Chongqing petrochemical plant to be approved by the Chinese government before the end of 2009.

Earlier reports by the 21st Century Economy Herald said it was to be located in Changshou district, a petrochemical industry park in Chongqing municipality that is within 3 km of a densely populated area and the river head for more than 70,000 local residents.

"The industrial park is already sending out a nauseous smell. Being healthy is much more important than money for citizens," a netizen named Meng Mei from Chongqing said.

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Tests confirm widespread lead poisoning

Medical tests have shown at least 121 children living near a battery plant in eastern China are suffering from lead poisoning, the latest in a string of such cases that have affected thousands.

Read more: Tests confirm widespread lead poisoning

China village has fill of dirty landfills

DONGGUAN, Guangdong: A growing number of cancer cases allegedly connected with foul landfills have been detected in villages of this southern city.

In Yuanfeng village, located in the Humen town famous for garment manufacturing, 11 of the 400 residents have been diagnosed with cancer over the past six years, nine of whom have died.

The incidence of the disease is about three times that of the national average.

On average, 2 million people, or 0.15 percent of the country's population, are diagnosed with cancer each year, according to the Ministry of Health.

In another two villages of Niushan community, six of seven cancer patients have died over the past three years.

The villagers were exposed to mountains of trash in the landfills, which reached capacity a couple of years ago but still accept tons of waste produced by the expanding urban population.

According to a report by Guangzhou Daily, the government outsourced the landfills in Niushan to private operators three years ago, but did not manage them well.

The profit-driven operators accept waste from other towns, charging 150 to 200 yuan ($22 to $29) for every truckload of trash. They also collect fees from garbage collectors, said villagers.

Without proper treatment, the trash in the landfills, amounting to 4 million tons in Yuanfeng, was completely exposed to the air, giving off horrible smells and forcing the villagers to close their windows year round.

Read more: China village has fill of dirty landfills

California's Mercury Problem

Abandoned Mines Still Polluting

The LA Times reports that over 550 non-functioning mercury mines in California are still polluting the state's water. Fish harvested near the mines have over ten times the EPA mercury limits. Over 100,000 impoverished people risk their health by fishing in those waters. Less than a dozen mining sites have had any clean up attempts. Most of these cleanups fail to stop the pollution. Click below for more information:

AP IMPACT: Review shows gov't rarely intervenes as Calif. mercury mines pollute water, fish

EPA Sets New Limits

EPA Limits Water Pollution

The Environmental Protection Agency has released plans to limit the amount of toxic metals allowed in waterways. Publicly targeted are coal-fired power plants. These power plants pollute the water by using substandard air pollution filters. Since air pollution limits are lower and carry heavier fines, these plants have taken to polluting the waterways instead. New limits should be out in 2012. Click the link for more information:

EPA Plans Limits on Metals Release