Print 11 comment(s) - last by boeush.. on Aug 6 at 8:57 PM

They’ve been accused of dumping too many chemicals into the nearby rivers

Apple’s suppliers in China are under the microscope once again, but not for employee working conditions -- rather, for environmental pollution.
Chinese electronics suppliers Foxconn Technology Group and UniMicron Technology Corp. have been criticized by Chinese environmental activist Ma Jun and five nonprofit environmental organizations for polluting nearby rivers with factory chemicals.
According to the environmental groups, water with a black-green color and a chemical odor have been dumped from both Foxconn and UniMicron plants into the Huangcangjing and Hanputang rivers -- which feed into the Yangtze and Huangpu rivers. “Sudsy” water is dumped from Foxconn twice a day.
Foxnonn is the maker of electronic connectors and circuit boards through a plating process while UniMicron makes printed circuit boards.
Foxconn said that it is complying with emissions standards and that other companies within the same industrial park are dumping water into the rivers as well. UniMicron also defended itself, saying that it checks wastewater daily and even installed monitors. It also hired a third party to inspect the water quarterly.
The groups pointed out that the dumping of polluted wastewater into the rivers is contributing the China’s heavy-metal pollution problem. Currently, about 25 to 60 million acres of China’s arable land is polluted with heavy metals due to electronics factories.
This certainly isn’t the first time Apple’s suppliers have been in trouble for environmental issues. Just earlier this month, Apple’s iPad mini and budget iPhone supplier Pegatron was criticized for various reasons, including improper disposal of waste leading to environmental concern, poor working conditions for employees, excessive hours, crowded living conditions, etc.
Before that, Foxconn was targeted heavily for many of the same issues as Pegatron. It even led to many employee suicides. Apple implemented a system of audits to deal with the conditions of supplier factories in China. It will likely do the same to address the environmental problems at Foxconn and UniMicron. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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By boeush on 8/5/2013 6:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
If Chinese factories actually had to treat their workers right, pay them well, and not offload production cost externalities onto the rest of society (for many generations to come) by spewing pollution, then how could they possibly compete with the rest of the civilized world in a system of "free trade"???

By ritualm on 8/5/2013 8:31:10 PM , Rating: 2
The capitalists will simply find a place that has such loose environment regs. I wouldn't be surprised if some electronics production start shifting from China to Africa.

By Samus on 8/6/2013 1:40:59 AM , Rating: 2
You hit the nail on the head. China has been eyeing Africa for decades. They're relationship with the region is excellent, and when the time is right, they will absolutely open Foxconn Park part duex anywhere from Rwanda/Tanzania to Somalia.

With the exception of pirates, the shipping lanes are pretty straight forward. But another strategy could be to open something in Ghana or Western Africa where shipping lanes to the North/Central American buyers would be half the distance of China to the West Coast of the United States. An added bonus to that relationship is the excellent relationship the United States has with Ghana.

By The0ne on 8/6/2013 11:40:21 AM , Rating: 2
Since China has been growing well it's now able to off-load some of these wastes to more unfortunate countries like India, Africa, and south of them. The trick is send it to whomever can make money off of them and be paid.

Regarding the story, after years of doing business in China, I would not touch any water source in China if they were not bottle, closed. If they fumes and smell alone doesn't deter you then you truly need God's blessing.

By kattanna on 8/6/2013 12:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
shifting from China to Africa

actually it would be to south america, as africa is soo politically unstable

whats kinda interesting is that.. given enough time, the greed of capitalism is actually going to bring the world up to a new base standard of the long run.

By marvdmartian on 8/6/2013 7:51:44 AM , Rating: 2
That's it, in a nutshell. If Chinese factories had to deal with the EPA and the tree huggers we have here, they couldn't compete with US factories, period.

Part of the reason why it kills me, to see so many politicians working so hard to kill off any industry here, that creates even the tiniest bit of pollution (coal power plants, etc). Your claims of saving the environment don't hold much weight, when halfway around the world, they're pumping so much trash into the rivers and atmosphere, that it's STILL going to affect the worldwide ecology, in a negative way. While I believe we should be taking care of the ecology, what good for 10% of the world to do so, when the other 90% cannot or will not??

Almost as bad as taking money from those that have, to pay those that don't have......pretty soon, you don't have very many people to collect from, because no one has anything anymore!

By ipay on 8/6/2013 11:21:27 AM , Rating: 2
The solution is not to lower ourselves to their standards, but to raise their standards to ours. Otherwise it becomes a race to the bottom and we'll end up completely destroying what's left to destroy.

You do this through trade restrictions. And before you start, yes it's going to hurt, but doing the right thing is often the hardest path, and we really have no other option that this point if we want to keep the earth inhabitable for everyone.

In other words, without a little pain now, there will be environmental devastation later.

By Rukkian on 8/6/2013 1:10:30 PM , Rating: 2
Who are we to tell them what they can do in their own country? It is really none of our business. We have no authority to tell China (or anybody else!) what to do. We need to get out of everybody else's business, and quit trying to be the world police (criminal, environmental, etc).

We had to deal with this throughout the 20th century, now they can deal with it on their own.

While I cannot stand apple, this really has nothing to do with them. While it may be suppliers of thiers, it is those suppliers that need to clean up their act. If that means they can't supply the parts to apple at the cost apple wants to pay, then so be it.

By ipay on 8/6/2013 1:24:19 PM , Rating: 3
We all live on the same planet and share the same circulating air and water. The global environment is interlinked.

Trade restrictions isn't us "telling China what to do", it's us saying to China, "hey, if you want to trade with us then you can't use slaves to make your products and you can't poison the air and water to do it for the aforementioned reason". That's a negotiation not a directive. If they don't like it then they don't have access to our consumer base, pretty basic stuff here.

In doing so - not to sound grandiose but just being honest - we can help guarantee our survival and improve living conditions. After all no one I know wants to breath poisoned air or drink polluted water.

By boeush on 8/6/2013 8:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
What ipay said, plus: it is very much our business how they make products that purport to compete on price with similar products we manufacture domestically. If they use slave labor and filthy technologies to drive our domestic competitors out of business, then everyone loses: they lose, we lose.

A specious and facetious argument popular among Wall Street types, is that we gain by getting comparatively cheaper crap on our store shelves. However it's halfway polluted crap in the first place, and secondly domestic highly-paid and value-adding productive jobs were destroyed, to be replaced by retail low-quality jobs. In the long run it only lowers the average disposable income while driving trade deficits and national debt, so the low prices on imported Chinese crap in the end are no longer a boon but rather the best a typical consumer could afford due to having been effectively impoverished and economically eviscerated through unfair competition (again, through effective slave labor and environmental devastation.)

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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