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9 accused of dumping toxic waste into Yangtze River

Nine people stood trial in Changshu People's Court in Jiangsu province on Monday and Tuesday for dumping more than 40,000 metric tons of trash into the Yangtze River, causing serious water pollution and major economic losses.

In December 2016, large amounts of trash, some of it toxic, were found floating in the Taicang section of the river. The trash, which contained medical waste, diapers and household waste, stretched more than 10 kilometers and severely endangered the safety of drinking water drawn from the Yangtze estuary.

Because the dumping sites were upstream from a drinking water reserve, the government of Taicang had to shut down two water intake sites for more than two days.

The illegal dumping caused ecological losses of more than 20 million yuan ($2.9 million). The governments of Taicang and neighboring Shanghai spent more than 6 million yuan to restore the polluted environment, according to the people's procuratorate of Changshu.

Prosecutors said Tianshun Garbage Clearance Service Co in Haiyan county, Zhejiang province, signed a contract with the local sanitation management center to transport trash to incineration plants in April 2016. Tianshun later subcontracted its disposal to unqualified parties at extremely low prices from August to December.

The subcontractor dumped more than 20,000 tons of garbage directly into the Nantong and Taicang sections of the Yangtze and used another 20,000 tons of household garbage as landfill in Zhejiang and Anhui provinces.

Han Lijia, who prosecuted the company, said the amount of garbage dumped into the Yangtze might be far more than 20,000 tons.

"Third-party environmental protection agencies verified that toxic substances were found in the dumped garbage," he said. "In a batch of garbage, the amount of volatile toxic substances was more than 80 times the allowable standard. Some even exceeded the standard by 32,200 times."

"From recent cases we notice that the government has made great efforts in environmental protection," said Su Dan, a lawyer at the Nanjing office of Yingke Law Firm. "But such garbage dumping still happens from time to time. I think the government should publicize the severe consequences of garbage dumping, strengthen supervision and lower the cost of garbage treatment."

More than 100,000 tons of garbage were illegally dumped or used as landfill in the Yangtze River estuary and surrounding areas in 2016, according to Xinhua News Agency.

The verdict in the recent case will be announced later.

Source:China Daily  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:9 accused of dumping toxic waste into Yangtze River)