Tons of Toxic Chemicals Flow from China to Russia
On Wednesday, approximately 7,000 containers of hazardous substances were washed away to a tributary of the Amur River with floods from the territory of chemical plants in China.
On Wednesday, the flood reached its peak on the Vende River in Yongjia County, Jilin. Thousands of barrels for chemicals storage from two chemical plants were washed into the river Vende, and then swept over to a tributary of the Amur, the Songhua River.
There were four thousand empty barrels with the capacity of 170 kg and 3,000 barrels filled with highly flammable explosive chemicals, 2.5 thousand of which contained trimethylchlorosilane.
The barrels contain over 160 tons of flammable gas methyl chloride. Dangerous floating cargo can reach the territory of Russia as early as August 4.
This oversight of the Chinese authorities at any moment can turn into an ecological catastrophe, yet there has been no information regarding the contents of barrels getting into the river water.
The Government of Jilin province where the Songhua River that flows into the Amur is located, has organized clean up works.
So far they were able to get to approximately 400 contagious barrels. Five years ago the Songhua River became the epicenter of the ecological catastrophe. Then a series of explosions at a Chinese chemical plant has led to falling into the water of more than 100 tons of benzene and its derivatives.
The Far East Regional Center of Russian Emergency Ministry has sent a request to the Consulate General of China in Khabarovsk to specify the measures that China has adopted to eliminate the consequences of the emergency. At the same time, the local environmental office is conducting its monitoring. They are checking the water that enters the taps of residents of Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk 24/7.
“The accident is taken under control. But so far there is no threat to the Far East, says interim Chief of the Far East Unit of the Russian Emergency Ministry, Colonel Igor Demchishin.
Russia has asked the Ministry of Environment in Beijing to provide more details regarding the incident with the Amur tributary.
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation has asked China for the details of the emergency on the Songhua River, filled with the barrels containing 510 tons of chemicals, the press service of the Ministry said on Thursday.
The information about the incident is of particular importance for the Russian side, as the water streams flow from China to Russia. Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia has requested an assessment of possible adverse effects of pollutants on the environment, the agency statement says.
The request has been sent to the Chinese side in accordance with the memorandum signed between the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Environment of China in 2008 to protect water quality in the rivers Amur, Ussuri, Argun, Razdolnaya and Lake Hanka. According to the document, the parties must inform each other in case of emergencies that threaten the ecology of the neighboring state.