Issue Date: August 27, 2007
DuPont, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, and Ajinomoto are listed as water polluters in China in a database maintained by the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPEA), a nongovernmental group based in Beijing. Companies contacted by C&EN say their inclusion on the list is misleading.
China's state media last week highlighted the fact that world-famous companies are on this list. But Ma Jun, the founder of IPEA, says his group has not singled out foreign firms.
"You can check and see that our database contains the names of Chinese and foreign companies without discrimination," he says. With some exceptions, foreign companies generally pollute less than Chinese ones, he adds.
Ma says IPEA's database provides information about which companies in China have been warned or punished by local or central authorities for polluting water. His group gets its data mostly from environmental protection bureaus at the municipal and provincial levels.
DuPont is mentioned for an excessive discharge of wastewater at its agrochemical plant in Shanghai last year. The firm says this was probably the result of bad sampling, adding that the site is regularly audited by a third party.
Ciba is supposed to have improperly discharged wastewater over a sustained period at a pigment venture in Qingdao. The firm tells C&EN that its name appears erroneously on the list and that its wastewater emissions in Qingdao are decreasing.
Ajinomoto is highlighted for more serious and more sustained illegal discharges at its sites in Henan and Sichuan in 2005. But the Japanese firm tells C&EN that the list is out of date. Ajinomoto provided C&EN with what it says is certification that it meets environmental standards obtained in December 2005 from the Sichuan Environmental Protection Bureau.
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