Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Toxic Snow-like Particles Spill From Chemical Plant in China

Residents gather to begin their demonstration on Aug. 27. ( Photo courtesy: TheEpochTimes

Residents living near a petrochemical plant in Dalian demonstrated seeking to ensure their safety after the plant spilled particulates 2 days prior and discharged clouds of thick smoke the day before. The marchers, who cried, “Keep Us Alive,” were dispersed by police and the company did not respond to their complaints.

The plant is owned by Petrochina Dalian and this incident is the second protest against chemical pollution this month in the area.

The residents demonstrated in the morning near the petroleum market in Shanzhong Street. Around noon, the authorities dispatched hundreds of policemen and special units to block the street with their police cars so that the demonstration would be interrupted.

Mrs. Wang, a laid-off worker from Plant 523, described the situation: “On Thursday and Friday some residents protested with a sit-in at the Number 2 & 3 in the petrochemical factory and asked for a resolution of the workers’ migration status problems and an accounting of the spill’s toxicity. However, the factory treated the protestors with indifference; nobody received them nor were any reasons for the spill disclosed to them. Apparently, the factory did not take the civilians’ lives seriously.”

The white powder pictured in the lower two-thirds of the image caused itchy skin. ( Photo courtesy: TheEpochTimes

Mrs. Wang said that the powder spilled seemed to be poisonous. Afterwards, her skin felt very uncomfortable and itchy all the time.

Another resident Li Na (a pseudonym) said: “I live in a bungalow. The yard and the street were all full of snow-like particulates, which were stuck to the ground and could not be swept away with a broom. Though the weather is hot, I dare not open the window, so it’s very stuffy and barely endurable.”

Phone calls to Petrochina Dalian went unanswered, although the company has many phone lines. Later the local Environmental Protection Agency was contacted and asked whether the substance spilled was toxic or not. But the on-duty official claimed that he had heard nothing about the incident and was reluctant to talk more.

This is the second recent event in which Dalian residents have protested in public to express their strong dissatisfaction with lax environmental standards. On Aug. 14, they sought to draw attention to the storage and spillage risk of PX (paraxylene, a toxic, hazardous material), kept near the coastline by the Dalian Fujia Petrochemical Co. Ltd

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