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Sickening fumes spark hunt

ENVIRONMENTAL protection authorities in Songjiang District are hunting for companies responsible for illegally dumping and burning industrial waste which spread pungent fumes over a 10-square-kilometer area on Sunday night, causing hundreds of residents to complain they felt sick.

Songjiang District Environmental Protection Bureau has located the source of the smell, Liu Fengqiang, deputy director of the bureau, said yesterday. Two sites where the waste is thought to have been dumped and burned have been found. One is between Beisong Road and a railway line, the other 200 meters north of A15 expressway.

"We are cooperating with other departments to chase the companies and will punish them in accordance with regulations," Liu said.

Air samples collected in the area showed traces of benzene.

Qian Hua, senior engineer at the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, said yesterday: "If plastic is burnt in open air, it will emit black fumes with organic compounds which are harmful to humans."


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