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May 26, 2012

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Home » Metro » Environment

Chongming Island to get cleanup

A TOWNSHIP government in Shanghai's Chongming Island said yesterday that it will join with environmental authorities planning to conduct checks and improve conditions on a farm thought to have been polluted by industry dumping years ago.

Residents in the island's Yuejin Village said "their land and well water becomes colorful" near a dump field used by a textile factory more than 10 years ago. They also charged the dumping is related to the diseases, including cancer, of several villagers

"My life has changed since then," a village resident, surnamed Ni, told Shanghai Evening Post, a local newspaper.

The newspaper reported that Ni's father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010.

The dump field, which started with a trench first used as early as 1998, is located near a Ni family farm.

One of Ni's uncles, who then worked in the Yingchun Woolen Textile Co, said he helped the factory dump wastes from processing wool and dyeing materials as the factory built new workshops in 1998.

"I did not think much about the pollution at that time," said Ni's uncle, who blamed himself for carelessness.

Near Ni's residence, colorful fibers can be dug out.

Four of Ni's neighbors also came down with cancer and died around 2000, said Ni.

"We have stopped drinking from the well water for a while," said Yang Weixiang, Ni's neighbor, adding they were afraid of getting sick.

According to Ni, the struggle against pollution began years ago with some unusual phenomena like soil and water changing colors and fleas swarming in.

In February of last year, the county environmental inspection station took water and soil samples to the city's environmental monitoring center and concluded that chemical levels in the water and soil were within approved limits.

Ni soon asked a private company to conduct a new study. Ni's report showed the farm's soil had excessive chromium, over the limit by 100 percent. For water samples the readings of ammonia and chemicals were beyond limits.

A town official said yesterday the government may conduct a third check as "neither of the previous two reports could gain approval from both sides."

The county's environmental authority said readings were from organic wastes. But it also said soil restoration work will start on the island.


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