Olympic Co-Host Qingdao Punishes Polluters Ahead of Next Year's Sailing Events

QINGDAO, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Eight companies were blacklisted for causing excessive pollution in east China's Qingdao as the coastal city works to ensure water quality for the Olympic sailing events next year.

The eight food, chemical and textile factories dumped wastewater containing excessive levels of pollutants, polluting the city's coastal water, according to the Qingdao municipal government.

The plants have been given three months to improve their waste treatment facilities.

"If their wastewater still does not meet the required standards by the deadline, they will be fined and their sewage discharge licenses will be revoked," said Niu Yue, an official in charge of sewage discharge in Qingdao .

The city's environmental protection and sewage management officials will strengthen surveillance on all polluting companies in the city, said Niu.

Up to 400 athletes and 270 sailboats are expected to compete in nine classes at the 2008 Olympics sailing events in Qingdao .

The construction of the Qingdao Olympic Sailing center was completed in June 2006. The center has since hosted several test competitions. In one of those competitions, Elise Rechichi, an Australian 2008 Olympic 470 representative, took 10 months to recover from severe gastric trauma after she fell into the water at Qingdao and swallowed a mouthful of water.

In late November, the city began to divert a total of 160 million cubic meters of water from the Yellow River , almost equal to the annual consumption of the city's urban areas. The water will be saved for domestic and industrial use and will alleviate water supply pressures on Qingdao during the 2008 Olympics.



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