Jun 14, 2007

Chinese Officials Punished for Lake Pollution

China has fired or punished five officials who are responsible for green algae covering the country’s third largest lake, leading to a drinking water crisis.

In late May and into early June, Taihu Lake was attacked by foul-smelling algae that left 2.3 million residents without drinking water.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, a vice minister of the State Administration of Environmental Protection said the crisis was both a manmade and natural disaster, and blamed the algae on pollution from chemical plants.

The five officials were given demerits or dismissals for inadequate work or dereliction in supervision when dealing with pollution.

The officials came from Yixing, which is under the jurisdiction of Wuxi and on the west side of the lake. One of the officials was the vice head of the local environmental watchdog.

Tap water returned to normal only after emergency measures were put into place. Water was diverted from the Yangtze River and seeding clouds were used to provoke rain.