SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese authorities will remove substandard running tracks from schools, called "poisoned tracks" by the media due to the industrial waste used to build them, after students fell ill using the sports facilities, said the Ministry of Education.
The Ministry, which called the recent incidents "poisoned running track" cases, said environmental protection and quality watchdogs would inspect newly-built synthetic tracks and order ones that didn't meet safety standards to be removed.
The move comes after incidents at schools in Beijing, Jiangsu, Guangdong and other provinces, where children suffered nosebleeds, dizzy spells and coughing after using the tracks, raising safety fears about the materials used to build them.
"The Education Ministry is taking the recent spate of 'poisoned track' cases on campuses in a number of locations very seriously," the ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday.
The Ministry added it would raise oversight of officials and school personnel involved in the construction of school running tracks and sports stadiums.
"People in positions of responsibility, whose negligence leads to sporting facilities falling below quality standards or even being 'toxic', will face resolute and serious punishment without mercy."
State-run media has previously reported that some of the substandard running tracks were made using industrial waste including scrap car tyres, wires and cables.
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Michael Perry)