China’s environmental watchdog to ban new industrial projects till removal of toxic waste

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, will suspend all new industrial project reviews and ban new projects in Qujing in Yunnan province till it cleans up toxic chromium slag and de-contaminates polluted soils.

Chinese law makes environmental reviews mandatory for all industrial projects before construction approval.

The move, which would halt economic expansion in the city of Quijing temporarily, comes as a punishment for a local chemical plant illegally dumping over 5,000 tons of highly toxic waste.

The dumping caused death of livestock and polluted drinking water for cities located downstream, the China Daily reports.

“This is not an isolated case. It reflects a widespread oversight on the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste in the country,”China”s Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection Zhang Lijun said.

He said the Chinese Ministry would also launch a campaign to target illegal dumping and stockpiling of hazardous waste.

He also warned that industries involved in the production of chromium and polycrystalline silicon, and in the disposal of sewage sludge and electronic waste would be placed under scrutiny.

According to Lijun, limited waste treatment capacity, the high cost of proper disposal and slack supervision by environmental authorities were among the reasons for the failure to regulate the use of hazardous chemicals.

The Chinese ministry has set the end of 2012 as a deadline for all chromium plants to treat their stockpiling slag.

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