CHINA–Chinese Vice-Minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration, Pan Yue, indicated during the China Business Summit 2006 that there had been over 130 incidents of water pollution since the Songhua River (also known as the Sungari River) pollution episode last November. The frequency of water pollution in China has reached as high as every two to three days.
According to the Central News Agency, Pan Yue said the contamination of the Songhua River was caused by a benzene explosion in November last year in a plant owned by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Jilin Petrochemical Company. The explosion resulted in the leakage of benzene pollutants into the Songhua River.
Pan Yue blamed the current frequent occurrences of water pollution on the irrational placement of industrial facilities.
There are more than 20,000 Chinese petrochemical plants built next to the river, including 10,000 along the Yangtze River, 4,000 along the Yellow River, and 2,000 along the reservoir and heavily populated areas.
He expressed that inadequate consideration of environmental protection factors and local bearing capacity during factory construction as the main cause. The high frequency of environmental pollution incidents is inevitable given that the local governments' only policy is profitability.