Firm owner jailed for illegal drug dumping
The owner of a pharmaceutical company in Shanxi province was sentenced to jail and fined for illegally dumping expired drugs.
Xiaodian District People's Court in Taiyuan, Shanxi, sentenced the owner, surnamed Tian, to 10 months in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of 5,000 yuan ($790) for polluting the environment, the Supreme People's Court said on Tuesday.
The court found that Tian knew the 3,200 kilograms of expired drugs should be disposed of properly, but asked two employees to dump them in July 2019.
Although the packaged drugs, which were identified as dangerous and poisonous solid waste, did not seep into the soil, their illegal disposal could have harmed the environment, it added.
The case was highlighted by the SPC, China's top court, to underscore the judiciary's determination to tackle solid waste pollution.
"Giving the prison term to the company's owner, in addition to the fine, strengthens the deterrent for similar polluters, meaning we're implementing the strictest rule of law in environmental protection," said Liu Zhumei, chief judge of the top court's environment and resources division.
In recent years, Chinese courts have stepped up efforts to fight waste pollution by providing more comprehensive measures.
"Polluters will face civil, criminal and administrative liability for their damage to the environment at the same time, with some even facing punitive compensation," Liu said.
In January last year, a chemical company that maliciously dumped 1,124 metric tons of waste liquid sodium sulfate around Fuliang county, Jiangxi province－polluting surface water and affecting the water use of more than 1,000 villagers－was ordered to pay more than 171,000 yuan in punitive compensation, according to a ruling made by a court in the province.
Liu Xiaofei, a judge from the division, called for all courts to continue the intensified combat against pollution, putting environmental conservation and prevention first in handling cases.
She urged courts nationwide to increase fines to people who illegally import, collect, store, transfer, use, dispose of or discard dangerous or medical waste.
A judicial interpretation on dealing with criminal cases involving environmental pollution will be updated soon in line with the amended Criminal Law, which took effect on Tuesday, she added.