In a landmark ruling, China’s Supreme People’s Court has confirmed a sentence fining a company for polluting water resources in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province. From 2011 to 2013, six companies that make chemical products in the Taixing economical development zone, including the Changlong and Jinhui Companies, poured more than 20 thousand tons of acid waste into the Rutai Canal and the Guma River in Taizhou through illegal companies operating without hazardous waste disposal qualifications, causing serious pollution to the local water resources. This incident was exposed by the media in 2012, and the 14 people involved were given sentences ranging from 2 to 5 years in prison in 2014. Later on, the Taizhou Environmental Protection Association filed a lawsuit against the chemical companies involved, acting as a “charitable prosecutor”. The court then made the decision that the companies must pay an environmental remediation fee of about 160 million RMB and an appraisal fee of 100 thousand RMB. However, the six companies didn’t agree with the decision made by the Higher People’s Court of Jiangsu Province in the first and second instance, and lodged an appeal against the sentence to the Supreme People’s Court.
Yesterday, the Supreme People’s Court established that the decision made by the Higher People’s Court of Jiangsu Province in the second instance was valid, putting this important case to an end. “This case has set an example for environmental lawsuits to the public”, said Wang Canfa, the director of the Environmental and Resources Law Institute of the China University of Political Science and Law.