China and International Environmental Liability

China and International Environmental Liability

Legal Remedies for Transboundary Pollution

New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series

Edited by Michael Faure and Song Ying

This book considers the ways in which transboundary environmental pollution can be remedied through a variety of legal instruments. Particular attention is paid to the pollution of the Songhua river in China, but legal remedies to transboundary pollution are also discussed in a broader context.

Chapter 10: Reflections from the Transboundary Pollution of Songhua River

Wang Jin, Huang Chiachen and Yan Houfu

Subjects: environment, environmental law, law - academic, asian law, environmental law


10. Reflections from the transboundary pollution of Songhua River Wang Jin, Huang Chiachen and Yan Houfu 1 INTRODUCTION The Songhua River, the third largest river in China, joins the Heilong River after flowing through Harbin City and forms a natural border with the Russian Federation. The river continues into Russia and is then named the Amur River. The Amur River flows through Khabarovsk City, of which the population is approximately 600,000, into the Bering Strait. The Songhua River, the Heilong River and the Amur River are together the main water supply for the cities and regions situated along those rivers. On 13 November 2005, an explosion accidentally occurred at a petrochemical plant owned by PetroChina Cooperation (‘PetroChina’), which was located in Jilin City, in the Jilin Province, China. The accident was caused by an operational fault. After the accident occurred, heavy smoke and dust was emitted into the sky above Jilin City. To prevent and to reduce the amount of air pollution above and around Jilin City, the competent authorities of Jilin Provincial Government used large amounts of water to clean the explosion site. During the cleaning, the water was used to wash off the explosion site and the residue. It was estimated that 100 tons of toxic substances, made up of a mixture of benzene and nitrobenzene, was spilled into the upper stream of the Songhua River. The contaminants in the surface water highly exceeded the water safety standards permissible in China. On 22 November 2005, the...

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