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Council Under Fire Over Plastic Manhole Covers

Council Under Fire Over Plastic Manhole Covers

Cost-cutting Communist Party officials are under fire after they started using cheap plastic covers to put over manholes instead of steel or concrete covers.

The cheap alternatives look similar to the metal manhole covers, apart from the fact that they are bright green or blue. Locals say they easily break when stepped on, resulting in at least three accidents in Nanjing City, the capital of the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu.

In the latest incident Chinese woman Qiao Tsao, 43, hurt her leg when this manhole cover broke although she managed to avoid falling all the way down the hole by grabbing onto the side and being helped out by other pedestrians.

Local media said that the thin plastic covers are no more than 7mm thick, and that there have been several incidents where they had broken after people walked on them.

Party officials in Nanjing however have defended the decision to use the plastic covers.

Local party spokesman Kuan-Yin Cheng, 46, said: "The plastic lids are thin but they have steel bars through them which means they are more than enough to bear the weight of an ordinary pedestrian. The accidents happened by people illegally driving their cars onto the pavement which weakened the lids causing these accidents."

He said that in areas where there was a danger the cars could possibly drive onto the pavement the plastic lids would be replaced but there were still deemed perfectly okay as long as it was only pedestrians that crossed over them.

He added: "They are made in brightly coloured material so people really should realise that this isn't something to walk on although if they do we don't anticipate problems under normal conditions."

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