updated 01:01 pm EST, Fri February 22, 2013
Waste discharge killled fish, hurt farming
A supplier of iPad casings is facing sanctions by the Shanghai government for polluting a local river, the Financial Times reports. Waste discharges by Casetek subsidiary Riteng are said to have regularly turned the river milky white since the Songjiang #3 factory opened two years ago. The fish population in the river has died, while area farmers say they can no longer use the water to grow their crops.
The most recent incident took place during the Lunar New Year holiday, when Casetek claims that workers improperly disposed of the water they had been using. "It's just Chinese new year annual cleaning," the company says in an official statement. "We will cooperate with the government, and the pollution is nothing to do with the production line of our factory...according to our understanding, it's a mistake that staff made."
Liu Fengqiang, the deputy director of the Songjiang district environmental protection bureau, disputes Casetek's version of events. He insists that the pollution came from chemicals used in cutting and polishing, and blames management, noting that his bureau has recorded other violations. Riteng has been ordered to explain its case at a hearing; if it doesn't appear by early next week, the Shanghai government has promised "the most severe punishment."
Fengqiang says that the production involved in the discharges has stopped, but Casetek denies this, adding that it hasn't been asked to halt anything. Apple has refused to comment on the matter except to confirm that Riteng does make iPad panels. Casetek is majority-owned by Pegatron, which has been accused of safety and pollution issues in the past.