Survivors of Sichuan Earthquake Face Further Challenges
Survivors of the massive Sichuan Earthquake last year in which 68 000 were killed and massive property damage was done are now facing further challenges. The aluminum plant in Wenchuan county is spewing pollution onto the nearby agricultural area.
The local government has put a priority on rebuilding the economy, partly through the more than five-fold expansion of the Aba Aluminium production line owned by Bosai Corporation – one of Sichuan's biggest exporters. This provides much-needed jobs in the disaster area, but they come at a heavy environmental price, according to nearby residents who complain their harvests have collapsed because of contamination.
"The expansion of the aluminium factory has really affected our lives. I used to grow vegetables and walnuts, but the pollution has ruined the plants and trees," a local woman told the Guardian by telephone. "The powder from the plant floats in the air, and leaves a coating of white sediment on the ground."
The plant director asserted that pollution control methods were in good working order.
Sichuan Province is an important agricultural area with abundant water, good soils and a generally warm climate. Some areas are able to harvest three crops each year.