Greenpeace issues challenge to China’s Shenhua GroupAugust 2013
Greenpeace is taking on the might of China’s Shenhua Group, the world’s biggest coal producer by volume, with the publication of Thirsty Coal 2, a new report berating Shenhua’s open exploitation of water resources in Inner Mongolia. It is the first time that the environmental campaigning organisation has challenged a state-owned enterprise in China.
In the report, Greenpeace East Asia reveals that the Shenhua Group,is overexploiting groundwater and illegally dumping toxic industrial wastewater.
Shenhua’s operations have sparked social unrest, Greenpeace maintains, as well as causing severe ecological damage including desertification, impacting farmers and herders who are facing reduced water supplies.
Alarmed by plans for an expansion of the Shenhua project, Greenpeace is calling on the company to end the water grab and for the Chinese government to impose strict supervision and enforcement of the principles governing coal-to-chemical projects.
“Shenhua claims its coal-to-liquid project has ‘low water consumption’ and ‘zero discharge’. Our investigation proves these claims are false,” Greenpeace East Asia campaigner Deng Ping said.
“Thousands of farmers and herders are being affected by Shenhua’s shameless exploitation of groundwater for profit. Shenhua’s practices are violating Chinese water resource principles and laws controlling industrial waste water.”
Since Shenhua’s water extraction operations started in 2006, more than 50m tonnes of groundwater have been extracted in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, leading to groundwater levels in the primarily agricultural and pastoral area falling by nearly 100 metres. The lake Subeinaoer has also shrunk by nearly two-thirds.
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