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NEWS: Toxic Spill in Chinese River Threatens Russia

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posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 11:51 AM
A spill of nitrobenzene into the Chinese Songhua river is creating an ecological threat to downstream areas in Russia that get their water from the river, as well as parts of China itself. Government officials in both countries are scrambling to find new sources of clean water as well as a way to clean up the pollution. The leak originated at a chemical plant that exploded about two weeks ago in the city of Jilin.
A slick of flammable nitrobenzene, 80 kilometres long, has begun making its way along the Songhua River through Harbin, a northeastern Chinese city of 3.8 million people.

The city's water supply, which comes from the river, has been shut down and bottled water is being supplied until the toxic slick leaves the city.

On Thursday, the provincial governor said the system should be up and running again by Saturday. He pledged to drink the first glass of water produced as a sign of confidence in its safety.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

This sounds like an environmental nightmare and could strain geopolitical relations between China and Russia if this ends up being a health disaster for Russian citizens. I hope these countries are able to deal with this situation effectively, but I really doubt it given both their histories.

posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 04:32 PM
I read news about this two days ago or so, the Chinese government stopped providing clean water from that river to millions of Chinese in one of China's largest cities because of the chemical plant exploding and contaminating the drinking water supply.

Here is a link with some excerpts.

Panic spread through one of China's largest cities Tuesday as residents hoarded water and food ahead of a four-day water stoppage due to fears that a chemical plant explosion had contaminated drinking supplies.

"In order to safeguard water safety in the urban districts, the municipal government has decided to provisionally stop supplying water to the public water network," the government of Harbin city, the capital of the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, said in a statement.

The order follows a November 13 explosion at a petrochemical plant in Jilin city, 380 kilometers (230 miles) up the Songhua river from Harbin.

The explosion killed at least five people and resulted in the temporary evacuation of tens of thousands of others who were forced to flee a cloud of toxic smoke.
Locals aware of the pending water stoppage began hoarding water and food as early as Sunday, amid government pronouncements telling people to stay calm and "stop listening to rumors," state press reports said.

Excerpted from.

I really hope they find a way to stop the spread of this chemical in the river and that they are able to clean it up soon.

[edit on 24-11-2005 by Muaddib]

posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 07:33 PM

A slick of flammable nitrobenzene,

Forgive me for being ignorant, but why can they not just set it alight?

posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 08:19 PM
Because doing so would probably devistate something else

What is this stuff used for anyways?

posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 08:40 PM
When you burn a toxic substance, it rarely becomes less hazardous, since your oxidizing it. I take it this river is south of the Amur river, meaning only small areas of Russia would be effective. However, China really needs to stop allowing this to happen in the name of progress.....

posted on Nov, 24 2005 @ 08:54 PM
This happened on November 13th. It took them (China) 10 days to admit they have a problem. I've heard that millions of desperate people are trying to get out of the area. The water supply has been cut off since Nov 21st when they shut it down for "maintenance"...

Click the picture for BBC article Toxic water from polluted water reaches Harbin

Harbin, home to nine million population including 3.8 million in the urban districts, has cut off water supply in the urban areas since early Wednesday, an emergency action taken to ensure public safety.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

See also: Cover-up can't hide murky water truth

Nine million people in Harbin without water...

[edit on 2006/4/30 by Hellmutt]

posted on Nov, 27 2005 @ 09:03 PM
They have water again now. I don´t think I would have touched it though. But when there is no other water to drink I guess they don´t have much choice...

BBC: Russians prepare for toxic leak

"Provincial governor Zhang Zuoji took the first drink after supplies were reconnected, the Xinhua news agency said."

posted on Dec, 16 2005 @ 11:40 PM
The spill has reached Russia:

A toxic river spill from a chemical explosion in China has reached Russian waters, Moscow has said.
Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said checks carried out in the Amur river so far showed toxicity levels to be normal.

He said arrangements were in place to purify water, and new wells had been drilled to ensure safe supplies.

The 100-tonne spill is expected to reach the main city in the area, Khabarovsk, in four to five days.


But China is trying to stem the flow of toxins into Russia:

China is damming a waterway in its northeast in an effort to reduce the impact of a river-borne toxic spill flowing toward a city in Russia's Far East, the government said Saturday.

Work began Friday to dam the waterway along the Heilong River, which is carrying the spill toward Khabarovsk, a city of 480,000 people, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The waterway links the Heilong to the Wusuli River, which also supplies water to Khabarovsk, and authorities hope to shield it from pollution.

The dam is the latest Chinese effort to repair strains with Russia over the slick caused by a Nov. 13 chemical plant explosion that already has disrupted water supplies to millions of people in China.

Jerusalem Post

posted on Apr, 30 2006 @ 09:57 PM
Did you think it was over yet? I'm sorry, but it is not. The accident occured in November last year. Now thawing ice release trapped chemicals from the accident. The second wave is coming...

ABC News Online: Spring thaw releases trapped pollution, says Russia

May 1, 2006

Environmental experts in Russia's far east have warned of a second wave of pollution from a toxic chemical spill across the border in China, five months ago. They say chemicals trapped in a frozen river during the winter are now being released by the spring thaw. People in the city of Khabarovsk and other settlements along the river Amur have noticed strong chemical smells.

Russian officials say higher than permissible levels of chemicals have been detected.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

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