Apple slammed over Chinese pollution

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Apple's come under fire from an environmental group over dangerous levels of pollution claimed to be coming from its suppliers' factories in China.

The Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) and four other organizations say that 27 factories believed to be supplying Apple are endangering both workers and local residents.
 
"The large volume of discharge in Apple's supply chain greatly endangers the public's health and safety," says the report.

It claims that the company is taking advantage of the poor environmental management systems in some developing countries to focus on productivity at the expense of health.

Near the Foxconn plant in Shanxi, says the report, atomspheric pollution is often so high that local residents can't open their windows.

Meanwhile, in the eastern Chinese city of Kunshan, cancer rates are claimed to have risen since the establishment of two factories believed to be supplying Apple.

Since 2007, says the report, more than nine people in a nearby village have fallen sick with cancer, of a total population of just 60. Toxic waste in the local water and gas emissions are believed to be the cause.

Apple's own Supplier Responsibility Progress Report concedes that all is not necessarily as it should be, finding that 11 percent of its 127 facilities were failing to manage waste water properly; 31 percent were failing to comply with air emission management standards.

Earlier this year, an explosion at Foxconn's notorious Chengdu plant, which manufactures the iPad, was believed to have been caused by aluminium dust in the atmosphere. Three people were killed and 15 injured.