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Pollutants from Hubei Shuanghuan Science and Technology massive killing of fish in Fuhe River, Hubei, China


Founded on December 27, 1993 and headquartered in Yincheng, China, Hubei Shuanghuan Science & Technology Co., Ltd. (Shuanghuan) engages in the research, development, manufacture, and sale of chemical industry products. It offers pure alkaline, burned alkaline, ammonium chloride, mixed fertilizers, fine ammonium, saleratus, carbon black, salt and salt chemical product series, culm powder, cinder, and polyethylene product series. [1]

 In August 2013, there was a drought in the Yingcheng section of Fuhe River. The amount of chloride ion in water exceeds 10 times of the tolerant rate due to the highly concentrated ammonia nitrogen and the seriously low dissolved oxygen in water, which seriously endangers the domestic water use in the surrounding areas and the water supply for chemical production in “Shuanghuan” company. As a result, the equipment of “Shuanghuan” was also corroded due to the high chloride ion content in the extracted water for the production of “Shuanghuan”. On 1 September 2013, the chemical plant's carbonization tower cold box was perforated, while the material (mainly ammonium chloride) leaked to the indirect cooling water system, causing the drainage ammonia to exceed the standard.[2]

 People living along the river said that they first noticed fish dying Monday morning and that a sickening stench began to fill the air. [3]Large amount of dead fish were spotted in several sections of the Fuhe River on the next day, 2 September 2013. Some media reports said that more than 100,000 kilograms of dead fish was scooped up, which was confirmed by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, saying that about 110 tons of dead fish have been cleared from the river. [4][5]The dead fish were mainly carp, chub and snakehead. [6]

 Environmental protection officials said tests on water taken from the Fu River upstream from the metropolis of Wuhan revealed that extremely high levels of ammonia in the water were caused by pollution from a plant owned by the Hubei Shuanghuan Science and Technology Company. The tests, conducted by environmental officials from Xiaogan City, revealed ammonia concentrations downstream from the plant as high as 196 milligrams per liter. The World Health Organization notes that naturally occurring ammonia appears in surface water at concentrations of about 12 milligrams per liter, while the similar figure for drinking water is around 0.02 milligrams per liter. [3]

 The incident has caused worry among the residents in the nearby city of Wuhan and the fishing village Huanghualao (黄花涝). Huanghualao's party secretary Wang Sanqing said: "The dead fish covered the entire river and looked like snowflakes." The owners of the village's 200 fishing boats could lose up to 70,000 yuan a day as a result of the poisoning. [7]The environmental department has warned people not to eat the fish although they said the water was safe to drink. It ordered Hubei Shuanghuan Science and Technology Stock to suspend operations until the pollution problem has been fixed. [8]

 The plant produces sodium carbonate, used in making glass, and ammonium chloride for fertilizer. It has been cited for environmental violations four times since 2008, said Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a Chinese nongovernmental organization that tracks air and water pollution. “Each time it was ordered to be corrected, but this demonstrates that enforcement is way too weak and the cost of violations way too low”.[9]

 On 5 September, a "Clarification Announcement from ST Shuanghuan" was published on various websites. It denied the message that Shuanghuan was the main or only cause of the dead fish, saying that, “according to the analysis of the relevant departments of Xiaogan City, it is mainly due to the fragile ecological environment of Fuhe River, the discharge of sewage from some enterprises along the river, the agricultural production and domestic sewage and rural non-point source, as well as the reduced water volume due to abnormal weather this year (2013). There are four major reasons for the obvious decrease in pollution and abnormal water volume. ST Shuanghuan has exceeded the standard of pollutant discharge, which is just one of the four causes of the pollution incident. ”[10]

 According to a Professor Gao Lihong from the Law School of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, there would be huge impacts if a river is polluted, including the damage to the natural ecological landscape, the aquaculture ecosystems, the social-economic impacts on agriculture, fisheries and industries, the restoration takes long time, so it’s a serious time to control pollution, adjust the industrial structure, strict law enforcement, pursuing ecological agriculture and fisheries. [2]

 The incident came after more than 16,000 dead pigs were recovered from Huangpu River which runs through the commercial hub of Shanghai earlier this year. [11]The Fu River flows into the Yangtze, China’s longest river and the source of drinking water for millions. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said water pollution is a serious concern, with industrial spills, farm runoff and untreated sewage all factors in degrading water quality. As of 2012, nearly a third of the sections of major rivers it monitored were so degraded that the water was unfit for human contact, the ministry said in its annual State of Environmental Quality report released in June 2013. [12]

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Pollutants from Hubei Shuanghuan Science and Technology massive killing of fish in Fuhe River, Hubei, China
State or province:Hubei
Location of conflict:Dongxihu, Huangpi sections of Fuhe River, Xiaogang City and Wuhan City
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Chemical industries
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific commodities: sodium carbonate, used in making glass, and ammonium chloride for fertilizer
Chemical products

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Large state-owned listed company.

The company is located in Yingcheng City, Hubei Province, which is known as “Golden Salt Sea”. It covers an area of 1.67 million square meters, with registered capital of 464 million yuan and total assets of 2.712 billion yuan.

The company mainly produces and sells 610,000 tons of soda ash per year, 610,000 tons of ammonium chloride per year, 200,000 tons of heavy alkali, and produces caustic soda, chlorine processing products, industrial ammonium chloride, industrial salt, edible salt, baking soda. , edible alkali, ammonia, thenardite, carbon black, sulfur, is the world's largest joint alkali production enterprise, the products sell well at home and abroad.

Project area:167
Level of Investment:68,256,735
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:100,000 - 1,000,000
Start of the conflict:01/09/2013
End of the conflict:05/09/2013
Company names or state enterprises:Hubei Shuanghuan Science & Technology Co. Ltd. (ST Shuanghuan) from China - polluting company
Relevant government actors:- Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People's Republic of China (MEP, prior to 2008 known as the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), is a department of the State Council of the People's Republic of China; as Ministry of Ecology and Environment since 2018,
- Environmental Protection Department of Hubei Province (
- Xiaogan Environmental Protection Bureau (
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE,, a Chinese nongovernmental organization that tracks air and water pollution.

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Genetic contamination, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Other Environmental impactssickening stench, there would be food insecurity for migrant birds especially white stork
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:There is no information about compensations to the local fisherfolks and the follow-up steps to restore the eco-system of Fuhe River.

Sources and Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[8]超标排污致下游死鱼成群 双环科技停产整改

[12] Tons of poisoned fish clog river in China's Hubei province

[1] Hubei Shuanghuan Science & Technology Stock Co. Ltd. 000707 (China: Shenzhen)

[3] Pollutants From Plant Killed Fish in China

[5] China finds 100,000kg of poisoned dead fish in river

[4] 220,000 pounds of poisoned dead fish scooped up in pollution-plagued China

[2] 长江商报:府河死鱼事件祸首系湖北双环 公告致歉并停产检修1

[7]武汉府河突现大面积死鱼 因企业违规排污

[9] Thousands of fish killed by China plant waste

[11] Rivers of blood: the dead pigs rotting in China's water supply

[6] China: 100 Tonnes of Poisoned Fish Found Dead in Fuhe River

[2] 长江商报:府河死鱼事件祸首系湖北双环 公告致歉并停产检修2


Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network


Pollution Causes Massive Fish Death in Chinese River


Other documents

Clearing of dead fish from Fu river A resident of Wuhan, China, cleared dead fish from the Fu River on Tuesday. Tests showed extremely high levels of ammonia downstream from a chemical plant. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

People try to salvage dead fish floating on the Fuhe River in Wuhan

Dead fish in the Fuhe River

Meta information

Contributor:EnvJustice, ICTA-UAB/Aki Eronen
Last update29/07/2018



Dead Fish

Clearing of dead fish from Fu river

Dead fish in the Fuhe River


People try to salvage dead fish floating on the Fuhe River in Wuhan