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  (Source: nytimes.com)
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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