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State-owned chemical company in China found to be illegally dumping toxic chemical waste

If it is frustrating that many privately-owned chemical companies across the globe are damaging the environment and threatening our health, it’s even more distressing to find out there are state-owned businesses who are notoriously contributing to the aggravating case of pollution.

Shanxi Sanwei Group Co. Ltd., is under hot waters for another environmental violation issue. Two unidentified officials from a village in Shanxi province, China were detained for covering up an issue exposing the dumping of solid waste by the chemical products company owned by the Chinese government. According to reports, the officials tried to block off all reporters who came to investigate and do a report on the said expose.

Through an undercover reporter, it was discovered that truckloads of waste were disposed in an open pit some two kilometers away from the plant and that the company violated the strict guidelines mandated by the environment authorities.

Neither barriers nor covers were provided to prevent the possible damage that could be caused by the wastes from happening. The residue of coal ash and carbide slag that came from ethylene production were left exposed risking the safety and well being of the residents. Moreover, the company was also suspected of disposing hazardous content into the Fenhe River, a major branch of the infamous Yellow River.

Due to the toxicity of the dump, wheat production has been affected and water from the river can no longer be used for growing crops in the area. What’s worse is how the pollution caused a bad effect on the respiratory tract and eyes of those living nearby and exposed everyone to the risk of developing pneumonia. A resident even claimed his mother died not long after she accidentally fell into the 30-meter pit. (Related: Scientists warn environmental pollution has affected us mentally… people becoming depressed because of “nature deficiency”.)

Investigations show that at least 17 tons of toxic waste were ditched into what has now become a huge pile of toxic waste.

Meanwhile, China Central Television (CCTV), the network responsible for exposing the alarming event, reportedly sent journalists to the village of Gouli after receiving several tips from citizens of Hongdong County revealing the horrifying truth behind the business of the famous company. However, they were forced to stop taking videos. Furthermore, the officials attempted to hold the reporters against their will and were only saved after calling the police.

Shanxi Sanwei Group Co. Ltd. is an acclaimed state-owned company in China whose net worth estimates at 4.5 billion yuan or $716 million. It was founded in 1970 and is known for manufacturing organic chemical products. The Hongdong County-based company is also listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. At one point, it was even honored with an award for business excellence but in the last five years, Sanwei has been involved in many different cases involving illegal disposal of chemical wastes produced in their factory and other environmental violations.

Following the expose, at least 15 government officials were either suspended while investigation are on going or permanently sacked from their jobs.

An apology was issued by Sanwei Group and is said to have halted operations amidst the issue. The clean up of the area which size’s is comparable to two football fields has already started. Government officials said the target end date of the clean up is this month.

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