Shi­ji­azhuang halts op­er­a­tions of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YU

China’s largest phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­trial base has tem­po­rar­ily shut­tered all com­pa­nies in the sec­tor to con­trol pol­lu­tion.

“All medicine pro­duc­ers can­not re­sume op­er­a­tions without per­mis­sion,” read an or­der re­leased on Nov 17 by the govern­ment of Shi­ji­azhuang, cap­i­tal of He­bei prov­ince.

The move was one of the mea­sures in­tro­duced to re­duce the av­er­age an­nual con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 — small par­tic­u­late mat­ter less than 2.5 mi­crom­e­ters in di­am­e­ter that can be harm­ful to the lungs — by 10 per­cent from last year’s level.

Ac­cord­ing to the or­der, the mea­sures will last un­til the end of the year.

Shi­ji­azhuang has ex­pe­ri­enced heavy smog on six oc­ca­sions since late Septem­ber, last­ing for more than 30 days in to­tal, with the Air Qual­ity In­dex fre­quently ex­ceed­ing 300, ac­cord­ing to the prov­ince’s me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal bureau.

An AQI read­ing above 300 is the most se­vere level in the six-tier sys­tem.

In Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber, the city was ranked as hav­ing the worst air qual­ity among 74 ci­ties mon­i­tored by the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion.

In­dus­trial emis­sions in the city, in­clud­ing those from the pro­duc­tion of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als, petro­chem­i­cals and met­al­lurgy, ac­counted for 25.2 per­cent of the sources of PM2.5, ac­cord­ing to Shi­ji­azhuang En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau.


A lab­o­ra­tory tech­ni­cian at Shi­ji­azhuang Yil­ing Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Co, which mainly makes tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine, said most of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­dus­try’s pol­lu­tion comes from the process of mak­ing ac­tive phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­gre­di­ents.

“The process in­volves us­ing or­ganic sol­vents and pro­duc­ing byprod­ucts, which are pol­lut­ing,” said the tech­ni­cian, who asked for anonymity.

More than 100 phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies are in­volved in the in­dus­try in Shi­ji­azhu- ang, in­clud­ing six listed ones. Al­most half make in­gre­di­ents, ac­cord­ing to He­bei Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Huabei Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Co, which is listed on the Shang­hai Stock Ex­change, has sus­pended op­er­a­tions at its head­quar­ters and four branch com­pa­nies.

Sus­pend­ing pro­duc­tion of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal in­gre­di­ents would re­duce prof­its by about 50 mil­lion yuan ($7.2 mil­lion), the com­pany said.

Shineway Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Group, China’s largest man­u­fac­turer of mod­ern Chi­nese medicine in­jec­tions, has also halted pro­duc­tion, though its op­er­a­tions are al­most pol­lu­tion free, said Yu Weizai, a pub­lic­ity man­ager for the com­pany.

“The halt in op­er­a­tions will cause a great deal of trou­ble for pub­lic com­pa­nies such as Shineway, which is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Ex­change,” said Yu, adding that the com­pany had submitted an ap­pli­ca­tion to the govern­ment to re­sume pro­duc­tion.

About 1,000 of its work­ers have been af­fected by the halt in pro­duc­tion, though the com­pany has enough prod­ucts in stock to meet mar­ket de­mand, Yu said.

have ex­pe­ri­enced heavy smog in Shi­ji­azhuang since late Septem­ber.

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