June 2, 2011
Source: China News Online
Author: Yi Ming
A red flame shoots out from a chimney in a residential area, sending up plumes of black smoke. Yesterday morning in the vicinity of the Jinyu 7090 residential area on the outskirts of Tong Prefecture, residents uploaded evidence of the pollution to Weibo, a microblogging website.
Since 2009 a strange smell has regularly drifted through the area, which residents suspect is caused by the smoke discharged from a nearby chemical factory. Recently, local residents used Weibo to initiate a movement to upload evidence of the pollution. At present, the Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) is already involved in the investigation and Du Shaozhong, Vice Director of Beijing’s EPB, has also participated in the campaign.
From October 2009 onward, the area experienced a baby boom and Mr. Sun, a resident, recommended that pregnant women relocate to avoid the “poisonous gas.” Yesterday afternoon a pregnant woman passed by in the public square and Mr. Sun commented that when you enter this neighborhood you can smell the acrid odor in the air. He continued, saying that all parents should be concerned about the effects of the poisonous odor on the health of their children.
One resident of Building #4 in the residential area was pregnant last year and decided to move because she was afraid of the odor. She was still living there from July to September of last year and recalls the frequency of the odor: “The smell could be detected four days out of the week and sometimes I would wake up choking in the middle of the night.”
Residents have used Weibo to complain to EPB officials that Jinyu 7090 —located on Southern Pear Orchard Street—has an Eastern Chemicals factory located to the southeast and a printing factory and CD manufacturing plant on its northern side. A photograph produced by residents showed thick smoke in the sky above the three factories. They said that every time the factories emit smoke a strange odor permeates the area.
Yesterday morning, a smell resembling burning plastic could be detected in the area and at present a column of flame and black smoke is coming out of the chemical factory’s chimney.
On May 26th, Mr. Sun began using Weibo to report on the smoke problems coming from the factories in the area’s periphery. He appealed to Du Shaozhong, the Vice Director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
On May 30th, Mr. Sun and his neighbor began using Weibo to directly transmit photos of the smoke emissions from the factories as evidence of environmental pollution.
The Environmental Protection Bureau became involved in the investigation.
Yesterday Mr. Sun said that Du Shaozhong had already gotten in touch with him and has assigned an official the task of going to the district’s periphery to investigate the companies there.
Yesterday afternoon the manager of the CD manufacturing plant said that the factory does not emit any smoke and has a smokeless chimney.
The print shop in the northern part of the CD factory does indeed have a chimney that emits smoke, but last year environmental protection equipment was installed and the smoke is already being dealt with. As the factory’s environmental protection department personnel explain, the fire and black smoke seen spewing from the factory’s smokestack yesterday was caused by an equipment malfunction.
Translator: Britt Crow-Miller