Remember the disgusting ‘Milk River’ in Kunming last April? How local farmers were complaining because their river had turned the foul color of milk, but government officials were trying to weasel their way out of it? You’d be forgiven if it slipped your mind, because pollution stories are so common that they’ve become a lazy journalist’s story-fodder. This one may be worth remembering, though, because the officials responsible have just been sentenced to years in jail.
Not only have officials been prosecuted, but mining companies have been fined as well; it’s like China’s gone all bizarro-world on us. China Daily has all of the juicy details, and reports:
Eight people, including the legal representatives and major managers of three ore dressing or mining companies, were convicted of polluting the environment in a court in Xundian county, according to the Intermediate People’s Court of Kunming City, capital of Yunnan province.
Two of the eight were fined and sentenced to jail terms of one year and three months and eight months, respectively, while five were also fined and received suspended jail sentences ranging from eight months to one year and two months.
One person who was a minor offender and showed repentance was exempted from criminal penalties, the court said.
The three ore dressing or mining companies must pay fines of 500,000 yuan ($82,065) to 750,000 yuan as they were found to have dumped wastewater into the waterway directly or via hidden pipes from 2010 to March 2013, according to the court.
If this becomes a “thing,” then perhaps all of that wing-fluttering about a pollution crackdown was more than just talk.