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Fumes blamed on illegal trash dumpers

THE environmental authority in Shanghai's Songjiang District is hunting for the people responsible for burning rubbish which spread pungent fumes over 10 square kilometers.

The fumes were first noticed on Sunday night but did not disperse until early yesterday morning.

The authority has located the places where the rubbish was dumped and burned and will look through the residue for anything that might lead to identifying the companies responsible, today's Xinmin Evening News reported.

The companies might have been trying to save costs by dumping and burning the garbage at the roadside, an environmental official surnamed Xu said.

The Songjiang Environment Protection Bureau launched an urgent investigation with a team of more than 20 officials after receiving complaints from residents from 8pm on Sunday, today's Oriental Morning Post reported.

Initial investigations ruled out any chemical leakages after checks with local chemical factories. Accidents and fires were also ruled out by local police and firefighters.

Environmental officials think that the odor could have been caused by a composition of gases from the garbage.

Air samples collected at eight points in the affected area found traces of benzene.

But small amounts of benzene will not affect health, officials said.
Officials are calculating the amount involved and will announce this, said vice bureau director Liu Fengqiang.

"The odor smelt like burnt rubber or plastic and made me feel dizzy and sick," said one resident surnamed Wu.

She went online in a local community forum and found more than 300 people were discussing the odor online.


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