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‘Zero Waste Water’ Rules Backfire, Enviro Manager Says

China google mapWhat’s it like to work as a corporate environmental manager in China, where the government’s old credo of economic growth at all costs is ceding to pressure from outraged citizens?

A column by Hua Ming at the Guardian gives some insight. His experience ranges from a more than fifty-year-old factory where managers would shut down furnaces during environmental inspections, to a new facility with top-of-the-line water, air and waste treatment, where over 25 percent of the budget was spent on environmental protection.

According to Hua, regulators’ “zero waste water” requirement has backfired, as no currently available treatment technologies can remove all pollutants. Companies are forced to illegally dump their water into gullies or groundwater, impairing water quality.

Lux Research has found that the point-of-use and point-of-entry water treatment market in China is reaching maturity, growing at a modest 2.2 percent a year – compared to growth rates of up to 19 percent in poorer countries such as Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Last month it emerged that Apple is seeking an environmental program manager who will be responsible for ensuring the tech company adheres to China’s regional and national regulations. The search follows an investigative report released in July, accusing one of the company’s major suppliers of dozens of environmental, safety and labor violations.

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