The toxic water crisis in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbina is expected to ease soon but the controversy over it is likely to rage on. A slick of water contaminated with benzene on a river is expected to pass through Harbin in the coming hours bringing relief to residents who have endured four days without running water. Tonnes of cancer-causing Benzene and other toxic substances were discharged into the river after an explosion at a petrochemical plant upstream. The slick could yet affect other parts of China and Russia.
The army has been drafted in to help tackle the crisis. Soldiers have been dumping carbon into filters to help clean the water. But Chinese authorities have come under criticism for their response to the spillage, and even the government-run press has called for more clarity from officials. A number of residents in Harbin are reportedly suing the chemical factory where the crisis originated. Environmentalists have also complained that China is not sharing information to help protect Russia combat the slick.