"China Diesel Spill Reaches Yellow River"

"BEIJING -- A spill of around 150,000 litres of diesel oil from a broken pipeline in northwestern China into a river has started reaching the Yellow River, but drinking water is safe for now, state media said on Monday.

The leak, from a pipeline owned by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in Shaanxi province, was discovered on Wednesday.

The company turned off the tap when the accident happened, according to state media, but not before some of the diesel ended up in the Weihe River, a tributary of the Yellow River, a major water source for millions of people.

Despite the efforts of hundreds of people using barrages and other methods to clean up the diesel, the pollution had reached the Yellow River, the official Xinhua news agency said on its website (www.xinhuanet.com).

The populous but poor province of Henan is the first to have been affected, the report said, and the local government had begun taking emergency measures to guarantee safe drinking water, though say there is no need for alarm just yet."

Ben Blanchard reports for Reuters January 6, 2010.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010