Executives sacked accused of illegal waste dumping

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Five leaders of a state-owned enterprise accused of illegally dumping waste in north China's Shanxi Province have been removed from their posts, reports the Xinhua News Agency.

An aerial view of the pit where solid waste was dumped by Sanwei Group. [File Photo: Chinanews.com]

Their removal comes after an expose by China Central Television (CCTV) on Tuesday that found the Shanxi Sanwei Group was dumping solid waste into a 30-meter-deep pit the size of two football fields some two kilometers from its factory. The dumping did not meet environment management regulations.

The chemical manufacturer, which is based in Hongdong County and listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, is also suspected of illegally discharging industrial waste water into Fenhe River, a major tributary of the Yellow River. Sanwei Group issued an apology on Thursday, and has reportedly stopped production while it responds to the situation.

CCTV also aired claims by local residents that village officials were aware of the waste dumping but took no action in exchange for personal gain.

Responding to the story, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment published a statement online on Wednesday asking local authorities to use the full force of the law against violators and to keep the public fully informed.

A team of investigators has been dispatched by Shanxi's department of environmental protection and the Linfen City government. According to a statement released by the Linfen government on Wednesday, two village officials involved in the case have been detained, and an investigation into the role of six others is continuing.

On Friday, some 15 government officials, including the head of Hongdong County, had been removed from their posts, or suspended from office pending further investigation.

Official sampling tests completed on Saturday found an estimated 17 tons of solid waste had been dumped, consisting of fly ash and carbide slag. Clean up measures are already underway, and are expected to be finished in early May, according to Chinanews.com.

As a publically listed company, Shanxi Sanwei Group is facing penalties from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, and the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

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