From: Reuters
Published October 14, 2008 08:55 AM

China province looks abroad to clean up arsenic

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese province is searching at home and abroad for experts to clean a lake once famous for its hot springs but now contaminated by arsenic, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Arsenic poisoned the Yangzonghai lake in southwest Yunnan province, affecting the drinking water of at least 26,000 people.

In June, the local environmental protection bureau detected dangerous levels of arsenic in the lake. A nearby firm had not built proper containment pools for its waste, and years of accumulated arsenic were leaching through into the groundwater and the lake, an investigation found.

Now the provincial government is accepting bids "no matter from China or from overseas" for qualified personnel to clean up the mess, the Beijing News said.

Odorless, tasteless, colorless and easily soluble, arsenic has long been a feared poison. A heavy dose can kill, while small amounts can make people sick gradually.

Xinhua news agency said hundreds had fallen ill from arsenic poisoning in two villages in the southern region of Guangxi after drinking water contaminated by industrial waste.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie) Keywords: CHINA ARSENIC/

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