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Contractors illegally dumping tons of sludge into Huangpu River

THOUSANDS of tons of sludge have been dumped illegally into the Huangpu River by unscrupulous contractors looking to save money, posing navigation hazards, pollution and tens of millions of yuan in government expense to clean up the mess, authorities said.

In a recent case, two dredging vessels were caught dumping sludge illegally into the river near Caochuan town on February 8, Jiefang Daily reported today.

At around 10:45pm, two boats attracted police attention after returning only minutes after they were loaded with dredged sludge. It normally takes three to four hours for boats to return from the designated dump area in Changxing Island, Chongming County. Police captured eight suspects on the boats who were accused of releasing 2,500 cubic meters of sludge into the Huanpgu River that night.

One suspect said that it would save at least 50,000 yuan (US$8,242) to dump in nearby waters for one single project.

On January 29, another two boats were found by police to have dumped over 400 tons of sludge into the Huanpgu River. Four suspects were held including the manager of the responsible dredging company, who confessed that 2,000 tons of sludge were dumped in batches into the river’s main course. He said the company committed the acts because it was left with no profit margin after having to lower its price in the midst of vicious competition.

According to the news report, piles of sludge were found at low tide at the river’s bank near the Lupu Bridge. According to measurements in February, an abnormal amount of sediment was found in the river between Lupu Bridge and Longhua Harbor that was believed to be caused by illegal dumping.

Sediment poses safety threats to waterway transportation. And it has cost the government tens of millions yuan since last year to dredge the channel of the Huangpu River jammed by sludge, the report said.


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