Changqing 长清 : émeute contre le saturnisme – août 2009

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长清暴动

Clash at China smelter after 100s of kids poisoned

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN (AP) – 17 août 2009

BEIJING — Police clashed with residents of two neighboring villages in northern China where nearly all the children were poisoned by lead apparently from a nearby smelter, reports said Monday, the latest sign of growing anger over China’s rampant industrial pollution.

Several hundred villagers tore down fences and blocked traffic outside the Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co. in Shaanxi province after news of the poisoning emerged last week, state media and villagers said. Fighting between angry parents and scores of police broke out Sunday, and trucks delivering coal to the plant were stoned.

No immediate word on injuries or arrests was available. Local officials, police and people at the company refused to confirm the reports.

China’s breakneck economic development has left much of its soil, air and waterways dangerously polluted, and environmental showdowns with outraged residents are growing. Authorities routinely pledge to close down polluting industries, but often back down because of their importance to the local economy.

At least 615 out of 731 children in two villages near the Dongling smelter have tested positive for lead poisoning, which can damage the nervous and reproductive systems and cause high blood pressure, anemia and memory loss. Lead levels in the children were more than 10 times the level considered safe by China.

Air quality tests done near the smelting plant in Shaanxi found unusually high lead levels, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, although officials say groundwater, surface water, soil and company waste discharge all meet national standards.

Li Li, a resident of Gaozuitou village, located about half a mile (1 kilometer) from the plant, said in a telephone interview that her two daughters began developing blotchy skin, yellowing hair and memory problems as far back as January, but doctors had been unable to explain the cause.

After word broke last week of the lead contamination, Li said she took the girls, aged 9 and 12, in for tests and both were found to have high levels of lead.

Some people have already sent their children to schools farther away, said Li, 36, who said her cabbage and tomato crops have withered as well.

« You can see how bad the pollution is, but we don’t have any money. Now, I sleep badly and I can’t eat well either, » Li said.

Local officials plan to relocate all 581 households living within 1,600 feet (500 meters) of the factory in the next two years, according to Xinhua.

It was unclear whether the plant had been closed and what its future might be.

In a separate report Monday, Xinhua said a chemical company boss in central China was sentenced to ten years in jail on Friday for criminal environmental negligence after his plant illegally dumped chemicals into a river in central China’s Jiangsu province.

Earlier reports said the Biaoxin Chemical Company in Yancheng city had been illegally dumping chemicals in the Xiangyanggang River since 2007. An investigation was triggered after the plant discharged a massive amount of phenol in February this year, forcing two water plants to shut for three days and cutting water supplies to at least 200,000 people. Phenol is used to make products such as air fresheners, medical ointments, cosmetics and sunscreens.

Biaoxin’s chairman, Hu Wenbiao, filed an appeal with the Yancheng Intermediate People’s Court on Monday, Xinhua said.

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血鉛超標爆恐慌 西部出路在何方

the-sun.on.cc

2009年08月18日

陝西鳳翔縣近期爆發兒童集體鉛中毒事件,七百多名十四歲以下受檢兒童中逾六百名血鉛超標,其中一百六十六人屬於中度、重度鉛中毒,需要住院進行排鉛治療。 這些孩童來自一家鉛鋅冶煉公司的周邊村莊,當地民眾怒不可遏,群起圍堵、衝擊縣政府及相關企業,事態尚未平息。

從目前媒體披露的經過及細節來判斷,這次事件是當地政府急於脫貧而不惜引進重污染工業所致,其間又得到環保單位暗中掩護,民眾生命健康被置若罔聞。事件再次為西部貧窮地區的「反科學發展」敲響警鐘。

內地鉛鎘超標中毒事件時有發生,鳳翔血鉛超標本來也算不了大件事。弔詭的是,就在當局公布幾乎所有受檢兒童血鉛含量都超標的第三天,當地環保單位又通報,監測數據顯示,作為唯一污染源的冶煉公司的廢水、廢氣排放,以及地下水、周邊土壤和地表水鉛濃度等均符合國家標準。

既然如此,這六百多名兒童血鉛超標到底是誰造成的?老百姓看不懂、氣難消,就連官方新華社也質疑事件真相遠沒有大白於天下。

其實,把利益關係放在陽光下,真相相當簡單。地處關西的鳳翔原是貧窮大縣,二○○○年財政收入僅五千萬元,農民人均年收入一千六百元,二○○六年建成東嶺鉛鋅冶煉公司後,躍身為陝西經濟迅速發展的「明星縣」,去年鉛鋅廠上繳稅收二千萬元,佔縣財政年收入的一成七。

官商勾結相互掩護

至於陝西東嶺集團則屬中國五百強企業之一,財大氣粗,三年前在鳳翔投建年產十萬噸的鉛鋅冶煉項目和七十萬噸的焦化項目,這些重污染項目為「東嶺」如虎添翼,帶來可觀經濟效益。可見官府急於脫貧粉飾政績,商人謀求最大利潤,共同利益促使官商勾結,相互掩護不足為奇。

鉛 是一種青灰色金屬,在加熱到攝氏五百度時會有鉛蒸氣逸出形成鉛煙,當空氣中鉛煙塵達到一定濃度,對人體相當有害,這是普通的自然常識,政府豈會不知。事實 上,在招商引進「東嶺」鉛鋅冶煉項目時,當局已承諾三年內,冶煉廠周邊五百戶居民將撤離到安全區,但至今四百二十多戶未見動靜,造成數千居民在鉛污染環境 下足足生活了三年之久。據稱官方的理由是,搬遷一戶須花二十萬元,全縣一年不吃不喝剛夠搬遷四百戶。

更 不堪的是,當局擅自將「鉛威脅區域」劃定為距冶煉廠一公里之內,即只要遷出威脅區域就可免受污染。此話誰會信?該定義的科學根據是甚麼?有沒有請權威部門 進行環境評估?專家的結論又是甚麼?當局一問三不知。事實上,被驗出「血鉛超標」的兒童中不少就居住在「鉛威脅區域」之外。

沿海地區加快「騰籠換鳥」,污染企業逐漸西移,貧窮省區欲拒還迎,鳳翔血鉛超標悲劇,折射出西部步履維艱的尷尬。看來,西部開發口號喊得震天價響,其實口惠實不至。

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Des villageois envahissent une usine après une intoxication

NOUVELOBS.COM | 17.08.2009 |

Des centaines de villageois ont envahi une fonderie du nord de la Chine, mise en cause dans l’intoxication au plomb de plus de 600 enfants, provoquant des dégâts matériels.

Des centaines de villageois ont envahi une fonderie du nord de la Chine, mise en cause dans l’intoxication au plomb de plus de 600 enfants, provoquant des dégâts matériels, a rapporté lundi 17 août Chine Nouvelle.

Une centaine de policiers ont été déployés dans le canton de Changqing, dans la province du Shaanxi, après que les villageois eurent pénétré dans l’usine et détruit au moins dix camions, a précisé l’agence officielle.

Un policier de Changqing a affirmé, sous le couvert de l’anonymat, que les villageois s’étaient désormais dispersés.

« La police assure le maintien de l’ordre sur place », a-t-il dit, sans autres commentaires.
Le gouvernement local n’a pas souhaité s’exprimer.
Les analyses ont montré qu’au moins 615 enfants des 731 qui habitent dans les villages proches de la fonderie, Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting, avaient des niveaux excessifs de plomb dans leur sang.

Cent soixante-six ont dû être hospitalisés et les autres sont soignés chez eux.
L’usine a été fermée la semaine dernière par les autorités, qui procèdent actuellement aux analyses de l’air, de la terre, des eaux souterraines et des eaux usées pour établir un lien direct entre l’usine et l’intoxication des enfants. (Nouvelobs.com avec AFP)

Mayor apologized over lead poisoning incident

2009-08-18

The mayor of Baoji ciy, in Northwest China’s Shannxi province apologized Monday to local villagers and promised to shut down the factory which sickened many of their children by lead poisoning, the Beijing News reported Tuesday.

Dai Zhengshe, the mayor, along with the chief of the local environmental bureau, went to the factory area of Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co., in Maodaokou village, Fengxiang county, and promised to the villagers to pay for the medication for all the victims, and will also cover the fee of their relocation.

Fengxiang county is under the jurisdiction of Baoji city.

Of the 166 serious cases diagnosed with lead levels of more than 250 mg per liter of blood – normal levels range from zero to 100 mg per liter – 154 were hospitalized.

Villagers break into lead factory in NW China

By Hu Yongqi and Lu Hongyan (China Daily)
2009-08-18

Hundreds of villagers broke through the fences of a smelting plant Monday to protest the lead poisoning affecting more than 600 children in Fengxiang county, Shaanxi province.

Residents from three villages affected by the poisoning – Madaokou, Sunjia Nantou, Gaozuitou – marched to the factory area of Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co. about 10 am, said protester Ma Linqin.

He said protestors tore down fencing that surrounded the plant, overwhelmed the factory’s security guards and smashed trucks and other vehicles.

No one was reportedly hurt despite clashes between protesters and nearly 100 police officers called to the scene. Many villagers, Ma said, remained at the factory until about 6 pm.

Baoji Mayor Dai Zhengshe arrived at the site just after midday and called on the villagers to exercise restraint. He has been appointed head of a newly-established pollution control team and said he was willing to settle the villagers’ relocation and medical issues through dialogue.

The city government, starting Monday afternoon, mobilized more than 200 officials to hear the villagers’ woes.

The protesters’ anger was fueled by news spread throughout the villages that the lead poisoning had induced a suicide attempt on Sunday.

A teenage student from Madaokau allegedly tried to commit suicide after her parents refused her request for a blood test.

Ma Jiaojiao, 19, fearing she might be poisoned, asked her mother for money on Sunday to get a test done. Government-funded tests cover only children under 14.

« My mother said it was unnecessary because I am much older than 14, » Ma told the Xinhua News Agency from her hospital bed. « We had a bad quarrel. »

She allegedly bought some pesticide and swallowed two mouthfuls at around 6 p.m. She is now receiving treatment at the People’s Hospital in Baoji. A doctor said Ma was out of danger.

The county government denied claims by villagers that her suicide attempt was out of fear of lead poisoning.

« Her suicide attempt had nothing to do with it, » said Zhang Xiaowei, an official in the publicity department of the county.

According to a report by the Fengxiang county government, the factory is mainly to blame for the lead poisoning that has forced the relocation of approximately 1,000 in the county.

Approximately 615 children have high concentrations of lead in their blood, parents told China Daily recently.

The plant’s operations were suspended on Aug 6.

Of 166 serious cases diagnosed as having lead levels of more than 250 mg per liter of blood – normal levels range from zero to 100 mg per liter – 154 were hospitalized.

No action has been taken yet to find out how lead poisoning affected adults in the villages.

Residents living within a radius of 500 meters from the plant should have been relocated by this year, according to a deal between the plant and the Fengxiang county government before the plant opened in 2006. Relocation, however, is running far behind schedule because of a shortage of funds, according to government officials.

Only 156 of the 581 families affected by the lead poisoning have moved to new homes.

The government of Fengxiang County began building new homes last Thursday for the remaining 425 families. They are expected to move to the new community, located about 1.3 km from the factory, within two years.

However there are concerns about the safety of the new site; experts will conduct tests this week.

Xinhua contributed to the report

Hundreds storm China smelter over lead poisoning

17 août 2009

BEIJING — Hundreds of villagers broke into a smelting plant in north China blamed for the lead poisoning of more than 600 children, smashing trucks in protest, state media reported Monday.

Around 100 policemen were deployed after the villagers in Shaanxi province’s Changqing township destroyed fencing around a special plant railway to gain access to the facility, the official Xinhua news agency said.

At least 10 trucks were damaged, the report said.

A policeman in Changqing township, who refused to be named, told AFP that the villagers had dispersed.

« Police are maintaining order at the scene, » he said, refusing to provide further details. The local government refused to comment.

Tests have shown that at least 615 children out of 731 living in two villages near the Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Co plant have excessive lead levels in their blood.

A total of 166 were hospitalised while the rest are to be treated at home.

On Sunday, Xinhua quoted Han Qinyou, head of an environmental protection monitoring station where the smelting plant is located, as saying the air near the plant was found to contain high lead levels.

« Lead content in the air along the main roads near the company is 6.3 times that of the monitoring sites 350 metres away from the roads, » Han was quoted as saying.

The lead levels in the blood of the children tested ranged from 100 milligrams to more than 500 milligrams per litre, compared with normal levels of between zero and 100 milligrams.

A reading of more than 200 milligrams is considered hazardous, with children more vulnerable to lead poisoning which can harm the nervous system.

~ par Alain Bertho sur 18 août 2009.

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