China: Choking on Pollution’s Effects – Dexter Roberts

From Business Week: As the recent benzene spill shows, worsening pollution increasingly endangers Chinese citizens, and their spreading anger is worrying Beijing.

The 50-mile long slick of highly poisonous benzene and nitrobenzene clogging China’s Songhua River finally cleared the city of Harbin on Nov. 27, and drinking water was turned back on for the far northeastern capital’s almost four million residents. But China was hardly ready to breathe a sigh of relief. Indeed, this latest accident has only ratcheted up the level of fear across the country. As nervous local officials and oil industry executives who initially covered up the original plant explosion await word of their fate, China’s citizens are engaged in a swirling debate about the frightening environmental problems plaguing their country.

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