People living in the Sanhecun Village of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have accused the local government of failing to deal with heavy metal pollution from a local lead extracting industry that has reportedly led to severe health issues among residents.
Metal contaminants have been seeping into the soil and water for the past half-century, CRI reports, citing the Dongfang Daily.
The cadmium content in water used for irrigation in the area was found to be 17.4 times higher than the national standard, according to an investigation conducted by the Guangxi Environment and Geology Research Center in 2000. The hazardous metal content in the region’s soil was 29.1 times higher than the national standard.
In 2001 the Sanhecun villagers won the lawsuit against lead mine owners who were ordered to invest 320,000 yuan to clean up the soil in the area and reduce the pollution level to national standards in three months.
But the lead mine filed for bankruptcy shortly after the verdict was delivered and as such, there was no follow-up action.
Residents in the village who have been consuming contaminated water and crops for years are now suffering from ostealgia, pain associated with an abnormal condition in the bones, and uncontrollable swelling on their limbs. One resident named Huang Xuqin (below) has been paralyzed for five years.
Many of the affected villagers are now unable to work. No government department has yet come forward to provide treatment or compensation for them, according to the report.
Earlier this year, villagers in Fujian province won a lawsuit against a waste management firm that was releasing pollutants in the area. The company was ordered to pay 6,000,000 RMB in compensation for food loss and human injury after a four-year-long trial.