Four people at a wastewater treatment company in the eastern province of Zhejiang were arrested for allegedly manipulating effluent data before submitting it to local authorities, as the central government is strengthening its pollution oversight.
The employees at Changxing Xintiandi Environmental Protection Technology Ltd. are accused of reducing the measurement of discharged wastewater from the plant by “repeatedly” adding chemical oxygen demand (COD) remover into the polluted water sampling location, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said Tuesday. COD is an important water quality measurement that helps to assess the impact of sewage to the receiving environment.
The Huzhou-based company is suspected of “polluting the environment” by tampering and falsifying the measurement of COD in its effluent, the ministry said. Changxing Xintiandi reportedly used a chemical remover comprising sodium chloride, which “masks” COD levels instead of effectively treating the pollutants.
China has stepped up efforts over the years to crack down on the falsification of environmental data and bust companies trying to cheat. Between January and October last year, authorities recorded 270 data manipulation cases in its automatic data monitoring system, fining perpetrators more than 49 million yuan ($7.7 million) in total.
As China plans to reach its climate goals of peaking carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, environmental authorities are also working to plug gaps in monitoring carbon emissions and air pollutants in key industrial sectors. Companies found to have violated the country’s environmental rules or manipulated pollution data face various punishments, ranging from hefty fines to a complete shutdown of business.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: People Visual)