Companies mustn't ignore environment for profits

Updated: 2011-09-06 11:40


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BEIJING - ConocoPhillips China (COPC) announced Sept 5 that it had ceased mining operations at the leaking Penglai 19-3 oil field in north China's Bohai Bay amid public outcries over its indifference, cover-ups and cheating and government suspension orders.

Masses of fish and shellfish have died since the spill was first detected on June 4 and pollution has spread out across 5,500 square km of sea.

"The ecological environment of the Bohai Bay is relatively fragile, which means it will take longer for it to recover from the pollution," said Zhou Qing, deputy chief engineer of the northern monitoring center of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA).

Considering the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the environment, experts have been calling for corporate social responsibility on protecting our planet. The bottom line of any company should be to care for the environment and make the planet better rather than polluting it.

The Chinese public are becoming more critical of companies that appear to care little for the environment. In a similar case to the one involving COPC, the public took to the streets over fears of leaks from a chemical plant in northeast China. The controversial Dalian Fujia Chemical Plant in Liaoning province was consequently shut down last month.

Both companies are highly profitable but both paid a high price for acting carelessly with regard to the environment. Many countries and regions around the globe do not accept such behavior. In April 2010, the worst oil spill in US history triggered by the explosion of an offshore drilling rig owned by oil giant British Petroleum ended up in an enormous fine totaling $20 billion.

The lesson rings the same: no one has the right to damage the planet that belongs to the entire human race. After all, what will be destroyed is humanity, not just the environment.