BEIJING, Oct. 21 -- A papermaking factory was
suspended after causing pollution that a Heilongjiang Province village blamed
for a high cancer rate among locals in recent years.
A total of 27 people died of cancer in Mingyue
Village where the factory is located, the provincial Life Daily reported. Most
lost their battle to stomach or esophagus cancer at ages between 30 and 50.
The village has more than 1,500 residents made up of
about 400 families.
The incidence rate for the northeastern province was
199.8 per 100,000 people in 1993-97, the newspaper said, citing the latest
report of the national tumor prevention and treatment authority.
In sharp contrast, the figure for the village in
Tailai County worked out to 1,333 cases per 100,000 people, according to the
The papermaking factory is about 4 kilometers
southeast of downtown Tailai. The county government ordered the factory to shut
in late September, months after environmental officials took samples of drinking
water in the village.
The evaluation reportedly has been kept secret from
the villagers. Officials at the county Environmental Protection Bureau would
only tell the locals that "it's high time that the village's water problem was
solved," according to the newspaper.
Li Guotian, a bureau deputy director, reportedly said
the government hesitated in suspending the factory which was the county's major
He said the sewage the factory discharged into a
200-hectare lake in the village exceeded the national standard.
the newspaper's request to check the report, saying it was only for internal
The factory was designed to turn out 6,000 tons of
paper products annually, the report said, citing Wang Guojun, the factory
general manager. The equipment was bought in the 1980s when it started
operation, Wang said.
Before the factory opened in 1983, the lake was clear
and alive with fish, villagers said.
The factory has since turned the lake into a "pit of
soy sauce." No one has tended to the black untreated waste water the factory
discharged into the lake where residents live as close as 50 meters away.
They have to wait at least two days until residue in
the water they draw from wells settles. The water also tastes bad.
Shuqing, 68, told the newspaper his family has dug three wells in his life.
The first they dug before the factory opened was
about 10 meters deep and the water was clean.
In 1996, he had to dig 23 meters deep, but it was not
satisfactory. This year, he has had a 46-meter well created. But the water is
(Source: Shanghai Daily news)