BEIJING, March 20 -- All cities in Northeast China's
Liaoning Province now have special vehicles to detect and respond to
Authorities recently handed over environment emergency
monitoring vehicles to 11 of the 14 cities in the province.
The other three cities, Shenyang,
Dalian and Fushun, equipped themselves with the mobile stations several years
"These vehicles mean it will take us less than half
the time it would have done to monitor and examine pollution incidents if we
faced such environmental disasters as the Songhua River accident. Our system is
now among the best in China," said Zhao Hengxin, a top official from Liaoning
Environmental Protection Bureau.
An 80 kilometre-long slick of benzene was formed on
the Songhua River last November after a blast at a neighbouring PetroChina
chemical factory in the northeastern Jilin Province.
The 14 vehicles, costing 700,000 yuan (US$87,500)
each, are specially designed for environmental purposes. Their back seats have
been removed to fit various kinds of monitoring equipment, including
refrigerators, generators and labs. On its roofs, there are monitoring cameras.
The vehicles are capable of accurately detecting the
pollutants' volume and any changes in water and air to provide immediate
assistance at accident sites.
"With these mobile detecting stations, we can drive
into the heart of the accident area and start work there. This could make the
difference between life and death at certain accidents," said Bi Tong, chief of
Liaoning environmental monitoring central station.
The vehicles may also eventually be used for
monitoring the cities' major pollutant producers, such as chemical plants.
But Zhao said the current vehicles have only basic
equipment, which are confined for water and air examination.
"We need at least 2 million yuan (US$250,000) to
equip each vehicle to do more things," Zhao said.
Liaoning has taken a range of measures to protect the
It has invested almost 300 million yuan (US$37
million) in establishing 68 air and eight water monitoring stations in sensitive
"We have covered all 44 counties with such stations,
which can provide basic pollution monitoring and examination," said Zhao.
The province's emergency response mechanism, however,
is still considered rather backward.
According to Zhao, Liaoning will invest 1 billion
yuan (US$123 million) to build an environmental alert and response system during
the 11th Five Plan (2006-10) period.
In order to deal with increasing environmental
disasters, several major cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai and
Guangzhou, have been equipped with such vehicles.
Industry insiders said the potential market for the
vehicles is huge, with the country paying more attention to environmental
(Source: China Daily)