XI'AN, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in northwest China's Shaanxi
Province announced Wednesday that all facilities of a smelting plant would cease
operations by Saturday amid public anger over heavy metal discharges by the
plant that left 851 children ill.
Xu Qiang, deputy mayor of Baoji City, Wednesday urged local residents in
Changqing Township, where the Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co. in Fengxiang
County, Baoji, is located, to resume normal production and way of life as early
as possible following its closure.
Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co. had been ordered by environmental
protection authorities to suspend lead and zinc production Aug. 6, after
sporadic cases of lead poisoning were reported among children from two villages
near the factory site.
Four of the smelting company's five smelting sections, which were
responsible for lead poisoning, had been pulled ceased production before Aug.17,
according to Wang Hai'ao, chief of the environmental protection department of
The last smelting section has 11 distillation columns, but six of them had
also been pulled out production by Aug.17. The remaining five were left to have
heat on until zinc molten could run off.
"The last five distillation columns will also be pulled out production to
fully dispel local villagers' concern about the smelting company's lead
pollution," said Wang at a press conference held Wednesday.
Smelting experts warned Tuesday that there would be safety hazards if the
five distillation columns were closed immediately. At their advice, the five
distillation columns were left to cool down gradually starting Tuesday.
All of the distillation columns will have stopped operation by Saturday
morning. They will be totally destroyed and become useless by then and Dongling
company will suffer a loss of more than 10 million yuan (about 1.47 million U.S
dollars), said Wang.
Dongling's other business, the coking project, which pumps out pollutants
other than lead, has stopped production, but its furnace has been left to have
Amid widespread lead poisoning fears, Fengxiang county government has
offered free blood tests for 1,016 children aged 14and under from three villages
of Changqing Township, 851 of whom were found to have excessive lead levels in
Of the total, 174 cases were considered serious and need hospitalization.
At present, only 155 patients have been received medication at five hospitals
designated by Fengxiang County government.
Lead poisoning can damage the nervous system and cause various mental
Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co., which started production in 2006,
produces 100,000 tonnes of lead and zinc and 700,000 tonnes of coke a year.
On Monday, hundreds of angry villagers who believed secret production was
still going on at the smeltering took to the streets, tore down fences and
stoned coal-carrying trucks and other vehicles. They also broke into the
smelting company's offices and smashed desks, computers and windows.
Baoji Mayor Dai Zhengshe, who arrived at the plant Monday noon amid a
protest by hundreds of villagers, apologized for the lead poisoning and its
harmful effects on residents. He ordered an immediate halt to all production
To further pacify local villagers, Chinese Ministry of Health have
dispatched experts down to Fengxiang to help local medical workers cure children
poisoned with excessive lead, while Shaanxi Provincial Department of Health have
sent experts to assist children's blood tests, said Liu Shaoming, head of
Shaanxi Provincial Department, Tuesday.
Vice Mayor Xu Qiang pledged Wednesday that when the autumn semester begins
in September, each school will be assigned with anextra health care doctor who
will teach students about prevention of lead poisoning.
Shaanxi Provincial Environmental Protection Department has also set aside
500,000 yuan for financing evaluation of the negative impact caused by the
smelting company on the environment of its vicinity, and for inspections over
other polluting enterprises and relevant treatment, said a source of the
Smelter at center of lead poisoning
scandal shut down
XI'AN, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- A smelting plant in northwest China's Shaanxi
Province was shut down Monday amid public anger over heavy metal discharges that
have left at least 851 children ill as of Tuesday.
Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co. in Fengxiang County in the city of
Baoji, had been ordered by environment protection authorities to suspend lead
and zinc production on Aug. 6, after sporadic cases of lead poisoning were
reported among children from two villages near the factory site. Full story
Smelter mainly blamed for children
FENGXIANG, Shaanxi, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Environment authorities said
Saturday a smelter is mainly to blame for a lead poisoning that sickened 615
kids in northwest China's Shaanxi Province.
But "other factors" cannot be ruled out, such as auto exhausts, home
decoration, diet and living habits, said Han Qinyou, head of the Baoji Municipal
Environmental Protection Monitoring Station, at a press conference. Full story¡¡