COURTS GET TOUGH
Since a new judicial interpretation took effect in June to tighten the country’s enforcement of environmental protection laws, there have been five major cases against polluters.
plants in Kunming, Yunnan province, were ordered to pay nearly 4.4 million yuan ($722,000) in November for illegally dumping polluted water into a nearby stream, turning the stream’s water white. The discovery of the pollution in April prompted media outlets to dub the tributary “milk river”. Seven people were sentenced in November — two received up to a year and three months in prison while five others received suspended prison sentences of at least eight months. Nanjing, Jiangsu province, sentenced five Nanjing Rongxing Chemical Co employees to up to five years in prison in August for illegally dumping toxic wastewater into a nearby river in May 2012. Thirteen people were poisoned after the dumping. The company was fined nearly 6 million yuan.
factory in Cixi, Zhejiang province, was sentenced to a year in prison with a fine of 4,000 yuan ($656) in October for illegally dumping wastewater since March, according to a local court. The factory was closed. suspended and eight others were arrested after heavy-metal pollution was detected in the Hejiang River near Hezhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, in July. The thallium- and cadmiumcontaminated river water affected the water safety of about 3,000 people downstream.
Hunan province, recently sentenced three people to up to a year in prison and handed out fines of 40,000 yuan ($6,000) for illegally dumping 450 metric tons of highly acidic wastewater into the city’s drainage pipelines in May.