CHINA,April.15, - Liu Hongyan is law professor with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

He says levying a fine on a company is far from enough.

"The new environmental protection standards have not replaced penalties with effective supervision. For companies like Ronghua, they need to spend much more than 3 million yuan to install pollution discharging facilities. As such, they just count the fines for illegal discharging into their general costs."


A company in Gansu Province discharged more than 83,000 metric tons of untreated water in the desert through a concealed conduit between May 28, 2014, and March 6. [File photo/Xinhua]

Launched in 1999, the Tengger Industrial Park had managed to escape a lot of public attention until illegal discharging cases started emerging.

In August of last year, several pits containing liquid waste were discovered.

The companies responsible were punished and ordered to move out of the Industrial Park.

Professor Liu Hongyan says much more attention needs to be paid to the Tengger Industrial Park.

"First of all, the area the pollution was discharged in the Tenger desert is very close to the upper reaches of Yellow river. Secondly, waste water can easily permeate through sand. This will eventually pollute the groundwater, which will be a deadly blow to the ecological system. But beyond this, there are concerns that the treating of waste water can lead to additional air pollution concerns in local areas."

Authorities are now conducting an impact assessment, which is due to be released by the end of this month.

The outcome of the report is expected to determine whether Ronghua will face even more penalties, based on the environmental damage it has caused.

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