The Jiangsu Provincial Intermediate People's Court will hear a case from the All-China Environmental Federation, which is suing Jiangyin Port Container Co. Ltd., for environmental violations. This marks the first full operation in China of a public lawsuit with an environmental organization as the main plaintiff, China Business News reported on July 8.
Ma Yong, a staff worker in the environmental law center of the All-China Environmental Federation, said that the federation received a complaint from more than 80 households in Junshan District in May, related to the handling of iron ore powder shipments by Jiangyin Port Container Co. Ltd., of Wuxi City. The complaint says the company has caused air, noise and water pollution and damaged the quality of the air, drinking water and living environment of the surrounding residential areas.
The federation immediately sent an investigation group to the area to confirm the claim.
The investigation found the company had been handling harbor building materials since April 16, 2008. This included goods loading and unloading, transportation, storage and sales operations.
A search of the industrial and commercial files of the company failed to find any of the required examination and approval papers related to an environmental impact assessment.
The file photo shows the bustling transportation port of Jiangyin Port Container Co. Ltd., in Wuxi City of Jiangsu Province. A complaint from more than 80 households says the company has caused air, noise and water pollution and damaged the quality of the air, drinking water and living environment of the surrounding residential areas.
The hygiene protection distance between the company's freight yard and the surrounding residential areas is less than 50 meters, according to the investigation document. Workers of the company start to wash iron ore powder on the ground at 5 a.m. every day.
The wastewater is discharged into the Xibei Canal and the Yangtze River through underground sewage pipes without any treatment. The drinking water sources of Wuxi and Jiangyin urban residents are both located on the lower reaches of the river.
The noise and dust caused by the company during its operation and transportation have severely affected the surrounding environment, according to the investigation document. Despite some corrective measures by the company and the negotiations carried out by the local government, the problem remains serious.
The federation held that Jiangyin had violated the laws related to environmental impact assessment, and the prevention and control of air, water and noise pollution. Therefore, it had created a detrimental influence on the living quality of surrounding residents and severely threatened the local drinking water sources.
To protect public environmental interests, the federation submitted the lawsuit to the Jiangsu Provincial Intermediate People's Court on July 6, pleading for an immediate halt to the company's polluting activities.
The federation asked the defendant to ensure the surrounding air quality conformed to the state standard, to take effective measures in iron ore wastewater treatment, and to remove a hidden peril for the drinking water sources.
It is reported that the court has already placed the case on file for investigation and prosecution.
All-China Environmental Federation (ACEF)
ACEF is a non-profit civil society organization (CSO) in the field of the environment, and is supported by the government. Its members include CSOs and individuals who are enthusiastic about environmental protection and willing to work for it. The aim of the federation is to serve as a bridge between the government and the public in implementing a sustainable development strategy, achieving national objectives in environmental development, and protecting the environmental rights of the public.
(China.org.cn by Li Jingrong on July 9, 2009)