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Tar-spill cleanup is under way

ENVIRONMENTAL protection and firefighting staff in southwest China have begun cleaning a river polluted by a coal-tar spill from a local chemical company.

About 80 percent of the spill on a 400-meter stretch of the Jiuyuan River in Tongliang County, Chongqing Municipality, had been cleared as of yesterday morning, the county government said.

The stretch is on the upper reaches of the Jialing River, a major tributary of the Yangtze River, China's longest waterway.

About 50 tons of coal tar from a tank of Jiuyuan Waterproof Materials Company flowed 100m into the river around 5am on Saturday, the county's Environmental Protection Bureau said.

The spill also made air in the area smell bad, but no evacuation was made.

"The strong irritating smell disrupted my sleep," said Xu Zhilan, a villager.

The factory had stopped production before the incident, said an official.


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