风讯台/科学新闻评论 Science and Media in China分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/lihujun 一位科学记者的观察

博文

Lead Poisoning Cases Stonewalled

已有 2207 次阅读 2010-7-2 20:45 |个人分类:English articles|系统分类:观点评述

Lead Poisoning Cases Stonewalled

What forces are holding up the filing of cases on environmental health?
By staff reporter Li Hujun 07.02.2010 11:49

Cao Xiaoying, a resident of Jiahe County in rural Hunan, has given birth to four children, all of whom have above-normal blood lead levels. Cao’s second son, age six, has mild lead poisoning. Recently, he has been irritable, even wielding a kitchen knife, and his mother thinks it’s related to lead.

Cao is not the only one vexed by blood lead levels in Jinjiling Village in Jiahe County's Guangfa Township. Last August, parents took 18 village children to Chenzhou city for physical examinations. Seventeen had blood lead levels exceeding norms. Jiahe officials organized tests for children in Jinjiling and two nearby villages. Of the 397 children, all under 14 years of age, more than 60 percent had abnormally high blood lead content.

Jiahe officials said the perpetrator was Tengda Non-ferrous Metals Recycling Company. Starting from late 2006, Tengda began lead smelting in Jinjiling without environmental assessment or approval. During this period, the Chenzhou Municipal Environmental Protection Agency ordered the plant to shut down, but it was somehow able to restart right under the noses of Jiahe officials. Not until news of lead poisoning began to break was Tengda completely shut down.

Officials blocked 40 villagers as they attempted to leave for Guangzhou for testing on a bus on September 18 last year. The two sides clashed, and reports said that a 200-vehicle traffic jam ensued. Local police detained two villagers after submitting a file alleging that a mob had disturbed traffic.

Cao’s husband Liao Minghong was one of the leaders urging villagers to defend their rights. According to government record, in August of last year, Liao and other villagers went to the perpetrating company and made away with 3.75 tons of crude lead and “asked for” 80,000 yuan. Cao says that her husband didn’t steal anything, but had been working to preserve evidence and fight for the villagers’ rights.

In early December, Liao, who had been petitioning to various levels of government, was arrested. News released by Jiahe officials in March made no explanation for Liao’s arrest, stating only that no villagers had been arrested on charges of looting company property.

After her husband’s arrest, Cao also went petitioning. On June 20 in Beijing, she told Caixin that her husband had been released on bail. But she didn’t know what the final result awaiting her husband would be and worried that the polluted land in their village could not be farmed as before. But her most pressing concern was the health of her children.

After being shuffled between numerous government offices, Cao and another village woman, who asked not to be named, came to the Center for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV) at the Chinese University of Political Science. They hoped to receive compensation for the harm to their children’s health. Two of the center’s lawyers traveled to Jiahe in May to investigate, and in accordance with “Regulations on Open Government Information” (政府信息公开条例), applied for the public release of quality testing reports on polluting heavy metals in soil and water inside and outside of the Tengda factory grounds. The Jiahe Environmental Protection Bureau rejected this legal demand.

The villagers have yet to formally file suit, but CLAPV lawyer Liu Jinmei is already pessimistic – she says the local court may block a case filing. CLAPV representatives with similar cases in places like Gansu’s Hui County have met with similarly cold receptions.

In recent years, the country has seen an increasing number of large-scale environmental contamination disasters. But local leaders have been reluctant to address any consequences, engage in clean-ups or even prevention, for fear that becoming associated with high-stigma words like "cancer villages” and “blood lead pollution,” might affect personal political careers or scare off investment.

Lead poisoning cases such as Cao's and other villagers have been routinely denied and appeals to higher authorities have gone unacknowledged. The unfortunate reality of environmental cover-ups continues to mar China’s push for a greener economy, as well as the country’s aspirations for stronger rule of law.



http://blog.sciencenet.cn/blog-3598-340718.html

上一篇:但愿天堂里没有大气污染
下一篇:[转载]旱涝双重考验

0

发表评论 评论 (0 个评论)

数据加载中...

Archiver|手机版|科学网 ( 京ICP备14006957 )

GMT+8, 2019-10-16 10:12

Powered by ScienceNet.cn

Copyright © 2007- 中国科学报社

返回顶部