Apple factory in China punished for water pollution

Apple supplier in Shanghai, which makes iPad cases, has been fined and its production suspended for allegedly pouring waste chemicals into a local river. The company denies any wrongdoing.

RiTeng, an Apple supplier which makes iPad cases, was charged with pouring untreated metal-cutting liquid and greasy, waste water into Shanghai's rain water drainage system which runs into the city's largest river, according to the local environment authority.

The Songjiang Environmental Protection Bureau fined the company, suspended production, and ordered it to stop the waste outlet from flowing into the drainage system.

Nearby residents said the river had been polluted long before the authority stepped in, but they had no choice but to continue using the polluted river water to irrigate crops.

"The water had a milky color and looked as if people used it to wash rice," said a local farmer. "It was very stinky, but we didn't know where the waste came from."

"The grass on the river banks is all dead," said another farmer.

The company insisted that the pollution was unintentional and claimed some workers "accidentally" discharged water that was used to wash the factory compound into the city's drainage system.

"We are not the only company around here, and what companies do not discharge waste water?" an unidentified source in RiTeng's management told local newspaper, National Business Daily. "It is unfair to blame us for this incident. All of our production waste is treated before being discharged. This is not a production-related incident."

The source claimed that the company was equipped with imported waste water-treating facilities. He denied all requests for further information.