Hebei aims for pollution fight to bear fruit
Updated: 2013-12-26 08:54
By Wu Wencong in Beijing and Zheng Jinran in Tangshan (China Daily)
Tough measures to clear the air will come at a price, report Wu Wencong in Beijing and Zheng Jinran in Tangshan.
Liu Dashan opened a paper bag and took out an apple only slightly larger than a squash ball.
"Without this bag, the apple would be covered in thick dust, just like I am when I go to harvest my fruit," Liu said as he bent down and took a persimmon from his basket.
"The other farmers can sell their persimmons wholesale for almost 2 yuan (33 US cents) a kilo, but no one wants to buy mine, even if I set the price at 1 yuan a kilo, because the retailers say they are so dirty and deformed that they can't get a good price for them."
Liu, who is in his 60s, waved the fruit in his hands and pointed at his orchard 1,000 meters away, standing in the shadow of a steel plant.
Like many residents of Yutian, a county in Tangshan, Hebei province, he blames the private plant, which employs about 1,500 people, for the dust and pollution that are ruining his business.
The company says it has compensated Liu for his losses, but he denies receiving any money.
Uncovered piles of raw materials, including corrosive lime, were dotted randomly around the factory yard, and yellow fumes poured from the chimney of a blast furnace, blending with a gray sky.
Although the company recently installed dust-prevention and reduction technology, Liu said he hasn't noticed a difference: "My mouth still gets clogged with ash when there's no wind to disperse it," he said.