A scandal-plagued aluminum manufacturer in Taoyuan county, Central China’s Hunan province, is suspected of dumping nearly one thousand tons of untreated waste near villages on the top of a mountain, Beijing News reported on Friday.
Chuangyuan Aluminum Co. Ltd was previously accused of discharging untreated waste, allegedly creating threats to public health and causing agricultural crops to wither in Taoyuan county.
Villagers told the newspaper the company had secretly buried waste containing fluoride on the top of Baima Mountain, polluting the underground water supply and threatening 300 mu (around 185,000m2) of farmland.
Locals have regularly reported the pollution problem to government departments, but received little response until local media began reporting on related environmental damage.
The company has since started collecting waste from the mountain. Two excavators have dug a pit of 50 square meters and a depth of six meters filled with black solid waste with a pungent odor, according to media reports.
Zhao Jinhang, an environmental official, said waste containing fluoride must be treated according to strict environmental requirements, else it could pollute air and water.
Farmers living near the mountain said they dare not eat the rice they have grown for fear of pollution.
Farmer Liu Jincui said she normally grew 2000kg of rice on three mu (0.2 hectares) of land each year, but has harvested less than 500kg since Chuangyuan moved in.
It is also reported that more than a dozen people have developed cancer due to fluoride associated with the company’s aluminum processing projects.
An official in Qinglong village said more than fifteen locals have been hit by cancer, mostly of the lungs, with fourteen dying since 2006.
Chuangyuan was established in Taoyuan during October 2001. The company’s first production line was launched in April 2003.