Greenpeace has locked its sights on state-owned mining firm Shenhua Group, with accusations that the company’s coal-to-liquid plant in Inner Mongolia has been draining millions of tons of groundwater from the surrounding area and discharging toxic chemicals without proper safeguards.
Shenhua Group has toted its Inner Mongolia plant as “low water consuming” and “[using] zero-emission technologies,” but the Greenpeace report claims that the facility has drained 50 million tons of groundwater from the area, shrinking a nearby lake by 62 percent. The Guardian reports:
The Greenpeace investigation, which the group said was based on 11 field trips to the Shenhua project from March to July this year, found high levels of toxic chemicals in discharged wastewater. It said many other carcinogenic compounds were identified in sediment samples. […]
The Ordos city government has also claimed damage caused by Shenhua’s coal-to-liquid project in two notices published on its website, pointing to reduced groundwater levels, irrigation problems, and a lack of safe drinking water for residents. It cited petitions from residents and warned of the threat to social harmony, recommending the relocation of farmers and compensation for water losses.
The water loss has led to desertification in areas around the Shenhua plant, and Greenpeace’s accusations are just some of the many claims against the Shenhua group, which has already been fined twice this year for environmental violations.
[Image via Greenpeace]