Solar panel plant partially closed over pollution

Updated: 2011-09-20 09:42


  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

HANGZHOU - The operation of a solar panel plant in East China's Zhejiang province was partially suspended after hundreds of villagers protested over pollution concerns, local environmental authorities said.

Several of the waste-generating production lines in a factory belonging to the Zhejiang Jingko Solar Co, located in the city of Haining, have halted production, according to a statement issued by the city's environmental protection bureau on Monday.

Three of the plant's employees were detained by local police after harassing two TV reporters who came to the plant to investigate the pollution, damaging a camera belonging to one of the reporters.

More than 500 people from the village of Hongxiao began to gather in front of the factory on Thursday night, demanding an explanation for a mass dieoff of fish in a nearby river in late August.

An initial investigation conducted by the environmental protection bureau found that the plant failed to properly dispose of solid waste generated during its production of silicon wafers.

The fish were killed by excessive levels of fluoride after waste was swept into the river by heavy rains, according to the investigation.

The bureau ordered the plant to dredge the parts of the river that were contaminated and clean up the polluted water. It also urged the enhancement of waste treatment measures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

Chen Hongming, the deputy head of the environmental protection bureau, said that the factory's waste disposal system has failed regulatory checks since April, adding that the bureau has repeatedly warned the factory about its pollution problem.

Provincial authorities in Zhejiang shut down 2,601 companies that were found to be polluting the local environment during the first half of this year, detaining more than 170 people in the process, according to a spokesman with the provincial environmental protection department.

More than 70 percent of Zhejiang's 273 lead storage battery manufacturers were closed after a string of lead poisoning scandals in the province.

Protests over pollution concerns have proliferated across China over the past few years. In August, a petrochemical plant in north China's city of Dalian was shut down after thousands of residents took to the streets to demand its relocation over concerns regarding potential toxic chemical leaks.

A similar protest in 2007 forced authorities in Southeast China's city of Xiamen to scrap a plan to build a similar petrochemical plant.