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China Fast Forward: The Technologies, Green Industries and Innovations Driving the Mainland's Future by Bill Dodson

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Chapter 8

Errors of Emission

In September 2011 an angry mob of 500 villagers broke through the chain-link fence of the Jinko Solar Holding Company solar cell factory and ransacked the premises. A torrential rainfall had flooded mismanaged vats of toxic waste that had flowed into a stream in Haining, Zhejiang Province. Residents in the area reported the day after the deluge that they had seen thousands of dead fish floating in the surrounding waters. Government inaction had ignited community fury.

Though the local Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) had punished the facility five months before the incident for improperly storing and managing the waste, the factory had continued to operate business-as-usual. The operation was supposed to have shut down and paid a fine of 470,000 yuan (US$73,600) until its waste management system was robust. By the time the autumn rains had swept through, the facility had still ignored all injunctions the EPB had set against it. The result was a rampage by angry local citizens that cost the company thousands of dollars in damage. The incident demoted the “green credentials” of the Jinko Solar Holding Company, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The irony of green- and clean-technology manufacturing in China is just how terribly polluting the processes are without the proper technology, safety controls, and management procedures in place. China’s rush for market share and its quest to fill its voracious appetite for energy, however, have ...

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