Greenpeace: Sichuan Chemical Plants Need Further Monitoring

Press release - 2008-05-21
Greenpeace, in response to the tragic Sichuan Earthquake on May 12th, have sent a research team to the site to identify and monitor possible environmental hazards triggered by the earthquake. The team has discovered that a small-scale chemical factory is still in operation despite the government’s call for an over-all suspension. Greenpeace warns that this activity poses a huge risk to the environment and human health and calls for closer monitoring, after notifying the government of the threat.

In response to the tragic Sichuan Earthquake, Greenpeace has sent a research team to the site to identify and monitor possible secondary environmental hazards triggered by the earthquake.

Greenpeace's campaigner Yue Yihua says: "We have visited a dozen of chemical plants in some of the worst-hit areas, including Dujiangyan, Qingbaijiang, and Shifang. We noticed that, for some reason, not all of them obeyed the warnings from the State Administration of Work Safety to suspend production for fear of explosion or chemical leaks. Sichuan Shifang Juxintai Chemical Co. Ltd, located in Shifang Township where two other chemical leakage cases had already been reported by state media, was still operating."

Impressed by the Chinese government's quick response to the crisis, Greenpeace has also offered to provide any and all support possible to identify and monitor environmental risks related to the earthquake.

Yue, a member of Greenpeace China's three-person team, says, "We have notified the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the local monitoring agency about our findings and we see it necessary that these hazardous activities are immediately halted. We hope the government will carry out more thorough monitoring and will follow up with measures such as removing all hazardous materials or quarantining the affected plants and their surroundings."

Greenpeace will continue to monitor the situation in Sichuan province. "We are hoping to warn people in advance of possible secondary environmental hazards in order to give those affected sufficient time to evacuate to safety," adds Yue.