04/21/2017, 14.39
CHINA

Toxic ponds near Tianjin. Contradictory campaign against pollution

For years, chemical and galvanic companies have been pouring waste into three ponds as large as 42 soccer fields. Those who have exposed the problem are silenced. Meanwhile, the Ministry for Environmental Protection has found that 69% of Beijing-Tainjin-Hebei companies do not observe anti-pollution rules. A prize to those who denounce it.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Ministry for Environmental Protection has admitted for the first time that there are nearly 20 huge ponds in Tianjin and Hebei Province where companies have dumped untreated wastewater for years.

The admission which came two days ago, was caused by the complaint, the day before, lodged by a group of environmental activists, the Chongqing Liangjiang Voluntary Service Center. They have discovered at least three ponds, two in Hebei and one in Tianjin, containing toxic and acidic waters. According to Caixin magazine, who reported news with photos, the surface of the three ponds is about 300,000 square feet, the space of about 42 soccer fields.

The authorities state that they have known about the problem and the polluted area since 2013 and that in 2016 the reclamation was carried out on 15 of the incriminated ponds. However, they did not report the polluters responsible for the pollution. Activists suspect that they are chemical and galvanic firms in the area that have made the ponds toxic. These companies are now closed, but the pollution has remained.

Curiously, the day after the ministry's admission, the environmental group’s Wechat account (the Twitter of the Chinese) was closed by authorities.

The group's silencing is in direct contradiction to the decision taken by the Ministry at the beginning of the month to launch a campaign to "normalize" the pollution situation in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, one of the most polluted areas in China. In an investigation of 4077 companies, it turned out that at least 2808 violated the anti-pollution rules, or 69% of the total.

Just today, Beijing's environmental government office outlined some guidelines in which it promises a prize of 50,000 yuan (about 6700 euros) for anyone who reports serious environmental violations, including the dumping of hazardous wastes such as radioactive materials. For those who report companies who pollute or tamper with inquiries, there is a cash reward of 3,000 yuan (about 400 euros). 

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