The surge in textile and apparel manufacturing in China has lead to major negative impact on the environment. Today, the increasingly serious pollution caused by the country’s booming textile manufacturing sector has become one of the biggest challenges for China’s economic and environment sustainability. Luckily, Chinese authorities are taking hard action to fight against textile industry pollution.
According to the recent report released by China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), those enterprises and manufactures in China who contributed high levels of pollution were fined a total 264 million yuan (US$38.3 million) in the first quarter of 2017; many of these enterprises and manufactures were operating in China’s textile industry. One of the cases shows that a textile and dyeing plant in Zhejiang Province was not only fined for forging water quality monitoring data after discharging untreated wastewater, but the eight people responsible for the case were also detained as a result of breaking China’s environmental laws.
China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) also reports that there were nearly 5,000 cases of violation of environmental protection regulations and laws in the first quarter of 2017; cases reported so far this year almost doubled from the same period a year ago. Last year, China received 33,000 tip-offs on environmental violations caused by enterprises and industrial manufactures, issued fines worth over 6.63 billion yuan (US$963 million), and detained 720 people in more than 800 cases. Total fines were up by 56% compared to the previous year.
The China Textile Sourcing Guide has suggested that pollution violations by textile mills and dyeing and finishing are the most serious in China’s textile manufacturing sector. Fujian, Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Zhejiang are the provinces that have shown significant increase in violations of environmental regulations and laws since the introduction of new wastewater treatment guidelines in China in 2015.
The guide also notes that “pollution, whether it be China’s waterways or airborne pollution, is a massive problem generally and the textile industry is one of the biggest culprits. Such issues have been ignored in the past, but with apparel brands increasingly twitchy about the ability of NGOs to expose evidence of pollution in their supply chains, the Chinese textile industry has no choice but to act or risk losing western custom. There is firm evidence that China is acting, not only introducing stricter guidelines relating to the treatment of industrial wastewater but also – and this is the crucial part – actually enforcing these guidelines.”
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