First environmental pollution criminal case cracked down in Beijing

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Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau recently announced the crackdown on the city’s first criminal case concerning a key pollutant discharge company tampering with automatic monitoring data to pollute the environment.

Eight people from the company including the company’s supervisor, surnamed Li, have been arrested and detained for the crime of environmental pollution. It is reported that if the crime of polluting the environment is constituted, they can be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of no more than three years or criminal detention, plus a fine. And if the consequences are particularly serious, the fixed-term imprisonment can go between three and seven years.

According to official reports, the company is one of Beijing’s key pollutant discharge units, with an annual disposal of hazardous waste of about 40,000 tons and a maximum daily disposal capacity of 140 tons.

As the company’s hazardous waste disposal systems produce atmospheric pollutants such as sulfur dioxide in the process of incineration of hazardous waste, in order to ensure compliance with emission standards, three sets of automatic air pollutant monitoring facilities have been built to transmit real time online monitoring data to the relevant department.

Knowing that the rotary kiln was overloaded and the discharge of sulfur dioxide pollutants exceeded the standard, Li instructed the relevant staff to enter the online monitoring equipment system through the administrator account, tamper with the slope of sulfur dioxide, and falsify the monitoring data.

In 2022, the ecology and environment departments around the country, together with the public security and procuratorial organs, carried out special actions to crack down on the illegal and criminal activities of hazardous waste, including the behavior of tampering and falsifying automatic monitoring data. By October last year, a total of 269 cases of automatic monitoring data fraud had been investigated and punished nationwide, with a total fine of more than 20 million yuan ($ 2.79 million).