HEFEI, Mar. 11 -- East China's Anhui province has pledged to take measures to crack down on polluting enterprises after lead pollution from a battery plant caused over 200 children to become sick in January.
Enterprises like battery plants, which are prone to cause water pollution, will be shut down to be modified if they are not up to emission standards, said Miao Xuegang, chief of Anhui Provincial Environmental Protection Bureau, on Wednesday.
Furthermore, environmental authorities at provincial or prefectural levels will centralize censorship of enterprises or projects for heavy pollution, Miao added. That power used to be with lower level governments.
According to Miao, more than 60 percent of enterprises related to lead emission in the province are not maintaining required standards, which has put people's health at high risk.
"We must put in place a sound mechanism and strengthen supervision of projects that might affect people's health," Miao said.
China is the world's top consumer and producer of lead, a heavy metal which can damage the digestive, nervous, and reproductive systems of people exposed to high levels of lead.
Battery plants are often blamed for lead poisoning in children.
In January, more than 200 children living near a battery plant in the province showed elevated levels of lead in their blood, with 28 of them being hospitalized.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a recent circular that the Chinese government would curb heavy metal pollution during the next five years.