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Ships Banned from Discharging Pollutants into Bohai Sea
Starting from Friday, the discharge pipelines of ships in the east Bohai Sea are required to be sealed to avoid pouring water carrying waste oil into the sea, according to information from the administration of maritime affairs.

A scientific investigation showed this act was likely to stop the infusion of 500,000 tons of such polluted water each year.

The seal operation will be conducted from May 23 to June 1 on as many as 1,000 ships, which are also prohibited from directly throwing pollutants into the sea. Special devices will be established on shore to receive such water and contaminated materials.

Those who open the seal without permission will be severely fined up to 300,000 yuan (US$36,000), as prescribed earlier by regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Communications.

Since Friday, the administration of maritime affairs in Yantai,a coastal city in east China's Shandong province, has already implemented the procedure on some 100 ships under its jurisdiction.

Government statistics indicate that an average of 2.8 billion tons of contaminated water and 700,000 tons of polluted materials, equivalent to one third of the total amount discharged to the ocean by the nation, flow into the Bohai Sea annually, which is known in China for its fishery.

The waste does not easily flow away as Bohai is shaped like a semi-circle, making the pollution even worse. Therefore, immediate efforts must be taken to clear the sea, according to maritime experts.

(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2003)

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