Legal Remedies for Transboundary Pollution
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Michael Faure and Song Ying
Chapter 11: Pondering Over the Incident of Songhua River Pollution from the Perspective of Environmental Law
Wang Canfa, Yu Wen-xuan and Li Dan
Wang Canfa, Yu Wen-xuan, Li Dan and Li Jun-hong 1 INTRODUCTION On 13 November 2005, an explosion occurred in Benzhydrol Factory of Jilin Petrochemical Co Ltd in Jilin Province, China, which caused about 100 tons of benzene, nitrobenzene and other poisonous chemical materials to leak into the part of Songhua River in Jilin City and down to the lower breaches. The sewage discharged from this area went into the Songhua River, mainly through the East No.10 Line of Jilin Petrochemical Co Ltd, and resulted in a signiﬁcant environmental pollution incident. The water supply was stopped for four days in Harbin City, which brought great diﬃculty to the life of millions of residents living along the river and badly aﬀected industrial production. The direct economic loss to Harbin city is about RMB1.5 billion.1 Russia claimed compensation for the pollution of its part of the river area. After the Incident, people considered some of the facts: the attitude of the polluter, the reports and circulars giving information on the incident, the responsibility of the relevant principals, ‘symbolic litigation’2,3 brought about by citizens and experts as well as the litigation with nature as the joint plaintiﬀ and so on. In fact, this was not an isolated incident. Other incidents had taken place in the last two years, e.g. the environmental pollution incidents of Tuojiang River and Beijiang River and See Liu Shuduo (2005). Ding Ning, citizen of Harbin, brought a lawsuit against Nangang District Court, demanding a RMB15 symbolic...
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