Image credit: @mckaysavage.
A swimming club in Handen, Hebei province, is suing a chemical company in neighbouring Shanxi for the cost of cleaning up a toxic spill and the delay in issuing a warning, according to the SCMP.
The first lawsuit over last week’s spill was filed by Handan’s winter swimming association, a registered non-government group with about 1,200 members. It is asking Shanxi’s Tianji Coal Chemical Industry to pay 20 million yuan (HK$24.6 million) in compensation – 10 million yuan for the Handan city government’s clean-up effort and 10 million yuan for moral suffering by hundreds of thousands of Handan residents. Drinking water supplies were cut off from Saturday to Tuesday.
The association cut its compensation demand from 160 million yuan to meet the limit for civil lawsuits. The Handan Intermediate People’s Court will decide whether to accept the lawsuit within a week.
Nearly nine tonnes of the toxic chemical leaked into the river from a loose drainage valve at a Tianji Coal Chemical Industry factory in Changzhi on December 31, Xinhua reported. The river connects three provinces – Shanxi, Hebei and Henan .
Changzhi authorities did not notify Handan or Anyang , in Henan province, promptly, saying they were not obliged to warn neighbours.
Acting Shanxi governor Li Xiaopeng , son of former premier Li Peng , apologised at an emergency work safety teleconference on Tuesday, the People’s Daily said. Li had been under fire over the covering up of an explosion at a construction site in Linfen on Christmas Day that killed eight people.