Phosphate fertilizer plant pollution in Liuchong Village, Hubei Province, China

Liuchong is a "cancer village" rising in protest. Villagers who demanded compensation for pollution were accused of “extorting” the polluting company and put into prison. The village is waiting for justice.


Description
Residents of Liuchong Village in Zhongxiang City, Hubei Province have suffered severe pollution since 2008, when Dasheng Chemical, a local phosphate mine and fertilizer factory, began its operations [1]. The factory is located in the most populated area in Liuchong Village with 50 households living within 600 meters of the plant. Houses and plants in its immediate area were coated with white powder due to the plant’s day and night air permission (ibid) to operate. Every day, Dasheng Chemical’s trucks dump piles of phosphogypsum, an industrial byproduct of phosphate fertilizer that contains cancer-causing chemicals like arsenic, chromium-6, and cadmium, onto the hill surrounding the village [2]. The wastewater from the plant is found to discharge directly into the surrounding ponds and field, coloring the water into brown and green [1].
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Basic Data
NamePhosphate fertilizer plant pollution in Liuchong Village, Hubei Province, China
CountryChina
ProvinceHubei Province
SiteZhongxiang City
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Mineral ore exploration
Specific CommoditiesChemical products
phosphate fertilizer
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesZhongxiang City Dasheng Chemical Co., Ltd from China
Relevant government actorsLiuchong village officials, Zhongxiang City officials;
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLawyers from Beijing Yingke Law Firm [4],

IPEN and Green Beagle [1]
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Lawyers
Forms of MobilizationLawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Soil contamination
Potential: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Deaths, Other Health impacts
OtherRespiratory problems; Cancer;
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Court decision (undecided)
Repression
Arrests of activists
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The latest media report disclosed that the pollution continued in Liuchong Village and local residents who were suffered economic loss did not receive satisfying compensation [1]. Local authorities presented conflicting accounts concerning the pollution in Liuchong Village [3]. Although the prosecutor withdrew the accusations against Wei and Yu, they did not get complete freedom. Instead, they are released on bail pending for trial without any definite answer or valid justification from the authority (ibid).
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Clause 124 of the General Provisions of Civil Law: Any person who pollutes the environment and causes damage to others in violation of state provisions for environmental protection and the prevention of pollution shall bear civil liability in accordance with the law.
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References

[1] China chemical safety case study: Pollution from a phosphate fertilizer plant in Zhongxiang, Hubei Province
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Links

[2] China's toxic harvest: A "cancer village" rises in protest
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[3] 湖北:化工厂包围的长寿乡 (Hubei: the town of longevity surrounded by chemical plants)
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[4] 湖北钟祥2名村民从污染企业获赔后被控敲诈勒索 (Two villagers in Zhonxiang City, Hubei Province were accused of extortion after receiving compensation from polluting company)
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Media Links

《经济半小时》 20130928 湖北:化工厂包围的长寿乡 ( "Half-hour Economy" of China Central Television reporting the chemical plant pollution in Liuchong Village in Hubei Province on 28 September 2013)
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Other Documents

Liuchong villagers' anti-pollution protest "Farmers in Liuchong Village, in China's Hubei province, have united to protest water and air pollution caused by Dasheng Chemical, which operates a local phosphate mine and fertilizer factory." - Source: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/chinas-toxic-harvest-cancer-village-rises-protest
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Meta Information
ContributorOxford China Environment, Health and Welfare Research Group
Last update20/08/2015
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