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Yunnan calls for international help to clean up arsenic-tainted Yangzonghai

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The Yunnan provincial government has announced that it will not only be searching around China but internationally as well as it scrambles to find firms capable of cleaning up arsenic-poisoned Yangzonghai Lake.

The "China Yunnan Yangzonghai Lake Water Pollution Reduction, Arsenic Removal and Water Quality Restoration" project is publicly inviting bids to clean up the lake via the Yunnan Provincial Scientific and Technological Development Research Institute, according to local media reports.

The main objective of the project will be to reduce the amount of arsenic in Yangzonghai's waters from the current 0.128 grams/liter to 0.050 grams/liter within a three-year period.

The discovery in June that Yangzonghai Lake, located 45 kilometers east of Kunming, had heavy arsenic levels has been followed by a banning on drinking the lake water, swimming in the lake and selling vegetables grown in the fertile lake basin. The 26,000 people who had been using lake water for drinking are now dependent upon government shipments of drinking water.

This year, eight companies in the Yangzonghai Lake area were found to be engaging in illegal polluting practices, with Yunnan Chengjiang Jinye Industrial and Trade Co Ltd (云南澄江锦业工贸有限公司) fingered as the main polluter.

The company failed to build the legally required treatment facility for its wastewater, with years of accumulated arsenic seeping into the local water table. It had been fined multiple times in the past, but the relatively small fines were viewed by the company as a cost of doing business, according to Kunming media reports.

Related article: Yangzonghai Lake suffering from heavy arsenic pollution

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