An Apple parts supplier has been caught and fined after it polluted a river in Shanghai, China.
The company, Riteng (a subsidiary of Casetek), turned a local river “milky white” after opening its Songjiang #3 factory two years ago.
Officials for Casetek told the Financial Times that employees improperly disposed of the water they had been using. The company claims in a press release:
“It’s just Chinese new year annual cleaning. 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.”
While Casetek appears to take a somewhat trivial stance for its actions, the pollution caused by the company killed the fish population in the river. Farmers have also complained that they can no longer use the rivers water to grow their crops because it is too acidic.
Liu Fengqiang, deputy director of the Songjiang district environmental protection bureau, says Casetek is lying about its employees’ actions. Fengqiang claims that chemicals used for cutting and polishing have leaked into the river.
While Casetek claims its actions were a one-time event, Liu Fengqiang notes that other environmental violations are also on record at his office.
Riteng will appear in front of an environmental council next week where it will be forced to explain its actions.
Regardless of the hearing, the Shanghai government has promised “the most severe punishment.”
In the meantime, production for the Apple iPad cases has stopped, according to the regions council, a claim Casetek adamantly denies.
Casetek is majority-owned by Pegatron, a major Apple manufacturer.
Apple has refused to comment on the polluted river.