Chemical spill in river affects 40,000
Water supply to 40,000 villagers in Wuchuan city , Guangxi , were affected after a factory upstream discharged chemicals into a river that flows through the city.
Xinhua reported last night that the factory had been ordered to stop the discharge but water quality remained poor and it would take at least two to three days to improve.
The report said a factory in Huazhou city had violated regulations by discharging the chemicals into the river. The worst affected areas were an 8km section of the Sanyi River between Changqi town and Xinlian village.
'In this area in particular, a 3km strip in Changqi town ... was most serious,' Xinhua said. 'Water there was brown and very murky. At present, water supply for 40,000 people who live in seven villages of Changqi town has been affected.
'In addition, some villagers also suffered losses to their crops and livestock because preventive measures were not taken in time,' the news agency said.
The report did not specify the losses but said a large quantity of fish had died.
'By Friday, the oxygen content of Sanyi River has not yet reached the accepted level,' Xinhua said.
In order to minimise damage, the Wuchuan city government decreed that local officials should prevent villagers from selling poisoned fish and using water from the river.
Last November more than 100 tonnes of a toxic chemical was dumped into the Songhua River after an explosion at a chemical factory in Jilin .
That spill shut down water supplies for days in the major city of Harbin and the Chinese government later apologised to Russia for pollution caused to the river.
Last December, the Beijiang, or North River, in Guangdong was polluted when 1,000 tonnes of materials contaminated with cadmium spilled into the river.
Ironically, cadmium was also spilled in January during an attempted environmental clean-up of the Xiang River, a tributary of the Yangtze River in Hunan . The work was supposed to improve water contaminated by cadmium from smelting factories.