2 officials jailed over S China river pollution

Updated: 2013-07-16 15:41


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LIUZHOU, Guangxi - A court in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Tuesday jailed two delinquent environmental inspectors in a case involving heavy metal pollution in a river in the region last year.

Lan Qunfeng and Wei Yi, former heads of a district environmental inspection team under the environmental protection bureau of Jinchengjiang district, Hechi city, were each handed jail terms of three years and six months for delinquency and taking bribes, as ruled by the Liubei district court of Liuzhou city in the first instance trial.

Lan and Wei failed to perform their duties and allowed Hongquan Lithophone Material Co Ltd, a chemical plant in Jinchengjiang district, to dodge pollution inspections and discharge industrial effluents containing cadmium into the Longjiang River from April 2011, the court said.

The pollution was not discovered out until January 2012, when dead fish were found near the Lalang Power Station along the river. Investigators found that cadmium concentrations in the river near the power station were 80 times the official standard. They also successfully connected the pollution to the power plant.

It was also confirmed that Lan and Wei also accepted bribes - 20,000 yuan ($3,241) in each case - from unspecified polluters, the court said.

Cadmium is a carcinogenic industrial chemical. The pollution threatened the drinking water source of the downstream Liuzhou city, which is home to 1.5 million people, and it took one month of emergency treatment to restore water quality in the river.