CCECC on "top ten polluters" list

Published November 22nd, 2006 - 02:40 GMT

The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has been labeled one of Hong Kong\'s top offenders against local environmental law, having accrued no less than16 pollution-related convictions since 2000 for offenses on or near its many construction sites. Included in the conviction against the CCECC are a series of dumping and other pollution offenses, earning the company 7th place on the \"top ten polluters list\" of the city.  


In one of the latest incidents, during the construction of the $10 billion Container Terminal 9 development, the firm was fined $15,000 for an offense under China\'s \"Dumping at Sea\" ordinance. In 2002, the CCECC was also convicted, this time in the eastern court in China, for loading contaminated marine mud for dumping. 


Most recently, an investigation was launched last summer into the CCECC by the Environmental Protection Department of China for suspected dumping of sediment in the Tung Chung River.


The river was found to be highly polluted after construction work of the CCECC began, while its workers were found to be dumping muddy water into streams near the river. Meanwhile, part of the stream near Shek Mun Kap was also found polluted by sediment thought to be caused by CCECC dumping, with construction waste lying by the area.


The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stated that it had found a 30 meter section of the stream that had once been crystal-clear was badly polluted. While the section of the stream had previously been home to a host of wildlife, now, it was found to have none. The Tung Chung River has been identified as one of the city\'s most ecologically important streams, with 20 indigenous species of freshwater fish, including the rare Beijing thick-lipped barb.


\"The water used to be crystal clear, but it has turned turbid and the river bed can no longer be seen,\" said the WWFs senior conservation officer Alan Leung Sze-lun according to the South China Morning Post. 


\"We suspect this might be related to sediment runoff from the construction site nearby,\" he added.


Though the contamination is only the latest environmental problem for the Lantau waterway, experts say that the damage this time could be far worse. Prior to the investigation, the CCECC had reportedly received eight warnings from the Highways Department for breaches of water quality regulations during the Tung Chung Road widening project next to the stream.


A Highways Department of China spokesman said it had ordered the immediate cessation of the water pollution, adding that it would stop paying the contractor its environmental protection bonus.


In another pollution case, the CCECC was found to have been dumping at Lake Victoria, Africa\'s largest freshwater lake, according to Asian Economic News. Ugandan authorities then directed the company to stop dumping soil in a wetland area near one of its construction sites in the country.


Furthermore, local officials from the Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment maintained that the CCECC had already dumped thousands of tons of soil on swamplands since it began work on the $24.9 million construction project to desilt and widen an 11.5-kilometer floodwater channel that runs through Kampala, the Ugandan capital, to Lake Victoria. Unfortunately, the area happens to also be a rare bird habitat. (source:

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