May 17, 2006
and He Huifeng
for economic development has seen a sharp rise in the number of
environmental accidents on the mainland this year, according to
the mainland's top green watchdog.
The State Environment Protection Administration said it had
received 49 reports of environmental accidents since January
this year, the People's Daily reported yesterday.
Of these accidents, four were classified as "major" - including
a spill from a paper factory in Inner Mongolia which affected
100 hectares of farmland and 57 households, according to a
statement posted on Sepa's website.
In January, a spill from a fertiliser plant in Chongqing left
30,000 people without water for two days.
A spokesman for Sepa blamed the surge in the number of
environmental accidents on the drive for economic expansion by
"Some enterprises used illegal methods to discharge waste
because they want to maximise their profit," the spokesman said.
"The local environmental departments must strengthen their
control of waste discharge and punish those who break the rules.
Factories that cannot be upgraded should be shut down."
Twenty-two of the 49 reported cases were caused by industrial
accidents and 12 by illegal waste discharge.
Traffic accidents caused 11 environmental accidents, according