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Odor from Apple supplier factory in China unbearable, residents say

Michael Kan | Oct. 18, 2011
For months, Luo Xiaoqiang has lived with an odor she describes as a mix of chemical fertilizer and burning plastic.

"The factory had already met the requirements. But residents are still not satisfied," said Yee Fang, a spokeswoman with the Suzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee. The dissatisfaction prompted authorities to shut down the factory until it gets full approval from government monitoring groups.

Ma Jun, a Chinese environmentalist with the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), said his group has been in talks with the residents affected by the factory. In August, IPE released a report criticizing Apple for failing to monitor the conditions at its suppliers in China. Following the report, Apple for the first timeheld talks with IPE about the alleged problems occurring with its suppliers.

"The Chinese government is paying more and more attention to pollution control, especially when it affects the health of people," Ma said. He also noted that Apple suppliers have begun to contact environmental groups about improvements being made at their factories. Foxconn, the maker of Apple's iPhone and iPad, recently informed IPE it would install new pollution control equipment in one of its factories in the Chinese city of Taiyuan following complaints from local residents.

In the case of Catcher Technology's factory, the local government said it does not know when it will resume operations. Residents like Luo only hope that when it does, they never have to smell the odor again.

"Only in the past two days have I been able to sleep well," she said. "We hope they will listen to residents' demands. But right now we are just waiting."

 

 

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