Shanxi vows better communication after contamination cover-up

Officials in north China’s Shanxi Province said on Friday they would strengthen communication with the media after a recent chemical contamination case in the area was found to have been covered up for days.

At a special meeting on tackling the chemical leak, which happened on Dec. 31, provincial government officials vowed that accurate follow-up information and details of progress in the case will be released to the public through the media in a timely manner.

An investigation team has been organized and environmental protection officials are working to figure out a program to clean up the contamination, according to the officials.

An evaluation team was also in place to evaluate involved factories for corrective actions.

Nearly 9 tonnes of aniline leaked by a chemical plant ended up in the Zhuozhang River from Dec. 31.

The provincial environmental authority did not receive the pollution report from Changzhi City until Jan. 5. Such an incident should be reported to provincial authorities within two hours, under requirements.

The contamination has affected drinking water supplies in downstream Handan City in neighboring Hebei Province, which has a population of more than 1 million people.

People expressed anger at the Changzhi City government’s apparent cover-up of the contamination, which left them no time to prepare water supplies at home.

Xinhua