From: Celsias, Clean Techies, More from this Affiliate
Published August 9, 2011 07:11 AM

Who is Polluting Chinese Rivers?

A July Greenpeace report shows that the toxic chemicals in Chinese water systems aren’t always the fault of Chinese officials and factory managers (who sometimes face death if convicted of negligence). Instead, they are the result of Western firms working in China and, intentionally or inadvertently, driving production to such levels that local Chinese factory managers bend the rules to improve their production numbers.


Consider, for example, the Youngor textile factory near Shanghai, which has been charged by Greenpeace with dumping hormone-disrupting chemicals and other poisons into China’s riverine water system, namely the Yangtze and Pearl Rivers.

Youngor produces textiles largely for the West, and is associated with such multinationals as Nike, Adidas, Puma, H&M, and LaCoste. These Western companies have, predictably, tried to exonerate themselves. For example, Adidas said that its only connection with Youngor was for the cutting and sewing of fabrics it supplied. Puma said its affiliation was limited to a non-polluting subsidiary of Younger. H&M said that its dealings revolved entirely around Ningbo Youngor Yingchen Uniform, a discrete and separate legal entity within the Younger International Garment City complex that had not contributed to the pollution of the Fenghua River.

Disingenuousness is typical of multinational conglomerates, so we were not surprised by the disclaimers. The other polluter accused in the Greenpeace report was Well Dyeing Factory in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province. Well is charged with putting heavy metals like chromium and copper into the water, along with various phenols, which are derivatives of coal tar and highly toxic.

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