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December 18, 2013

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Factory relocated for emitting toxic fumes

An old steel factory in Pudong is being relocated after residents complained that pungent smell originating from the factory  made it difficult to breathe.

The small steel factory built in 1980s in Tangzhen Town in the Pudong New Area would emit smokes at night with a strong smell that made residents living close by feel dizzy and uncomfortable.

The town government has now asked the factory to move from the residential areas and control its emission during the interim period, an official with the local planning and environmental protection office said yesterday.

The factory at 3030 Tanglu Road releases toxic smoke and dust every night because its equipment are old, said a resident surnamed Wu.

“We can see the dust on our floors and tables in the room,” he said.

Nearby residents complained to the city’s environmental protection bureau, which carried out tests and later decided to make it relocate.

Many other small factories like the one in the town were found releasing pollutants at night to avoid being detected  by the environmental protection authorities, according to Zhang Quan, director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

“The bureau will soon use infrared ray to monitor these small factories at night,” said Zhang.

Factories discharging air pollutants without licenses or unloading excessive level of air pollutants even with licenses will be fined up to 100,000 yuan (US$16,470) or possibly shut down if they fail to rectify the foul play over a certain period of time.

PM2.5, or airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, was the major pollutant for 94.5 percent of days with poor air quality in the city in the first half of this year, Zhang said.

Vehicle and factory emissions accounted for 50 percent of the city’s pollution, followed by dust from construction sites (10.5 percent), power stations (7.3 percent) and straw burning (10 percent), according to Zhang.

The other 20 percent was from other provinces, he said.

The Shanghai government will launch a joint campaign with neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces to curb PM2.5 levels by 20 percent within the next three years beginning from the end of this month.



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