Protests force factory to close following fish deaths

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Over 500 Chinese residents have staged a protest and forced a factory to close down after large numbers of fish were found dead in a nearby river.

The three day protest in Haining City in the Zhejiang province came after water samples test of water released form a solar panel factory were found to have toxic levels of fluoride.

The locals forced the New York listed company Jinko Solar to close down its factory which makes solar panels for sale in Australia after they accused it of dumping hazardous chemicals into the water supply in August. It has since been fined 470,000 yuan (around £48,000).

Company spokesman Thomas Jing told the BBC: "We feel that it is socially responsible to close the factory first and to take corrective measures."

Campaigners are pointing out that this throws doubt on the green credentials of renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines.

The local environmental protection bureau are quoted saying that the waste output of the factory has actually failed pollution tests since April but until now has done nothing about it. The factory insists it is investigating to see if the death of the fish was related to the accidental release of the fluoride.

The incident comes just a month after authorities in the north eastern city of Dalian agreed to relocate a chemical plant following similar protests, underscoring official concern over mounting public anger about pollution.

About one third of the industrial waste water and more than 90% of household sewage in China is released into rivers and lakes without being treated.

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