China sends troops into its poisoned city – Michael Sheridan

200511261209Pubvp2-4 67209205 45E23725Ca-1 From The Times Online:

A THOUSAND Chinese soldiers were drafted in this weekend to stack 300 tons of filters at a waterworks in the industrial city of in a desperate effort to solve a pollution crisis that has cut off water to more than 3m people.

Mains supplies were shut off for a fifth day as a 50-mile slick of toxic chemicals in the Songhua River slid past the city a fortnight after an explosion at a chemical plant upstream poured 100 tons of benzene and other cancer-causing pollutants into the river.

The disaster has become political as well as environmental: there was a cascade of public fury over the disclosure that Communist party officials covered up the leak on November 13, then lied to the citizens of Harbin, setting off mass panic and an exodus from the city.

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