Water polluters are on the docket of Chinese courts this week. According to Reuters, three top executives were convicted of environmental law violations after dumping industrial waste into a lake in Yunnan Province, in southern China.
The court convicted the three execs of Chengjiang Jinye Industry and Trade Co. for dumping poisonous industrial pollutants – including arsenic — in the Yangzonghai Lake and for expanding the company’s fertilizer plant without approval from environmental authorities.
The local government identified the arsenic pollution last June during an inspection of the lake’s water. Yangzonghai, which lies near the border between provincial capital Kunming and Yuxi City, supplies water to about 26,000 people in the area. According to Qin Guangrong, Yunnan’s provincial governor, it will take more than three years to reduce the arsenic back to safe levels.
Although Chengjiang Jinye Industry was also fined $2.34 million for polluting the lake, experts say that companies often find it cheaper to pay the fines than to clean up their discharges.
“It’s good that they pursued the case, but the better approach would be to take preventive action,” said Alex Wang, director of the National Resources Defense Counsel in Beijing.
, a Bulgaria native, is a Chicago-based reporter for Circle of Blue. She co-writes The Stream, a daily digest of international water news trends.
Interests: Europe, China, Environmental Policy, International Security.