A local environmental NGO took a group of experts Saturday to inspect farmland in Miyun county which was allegedly polluted by a South Korean auto-parts company.
NGO Nature University has alleged that KB (Beijing) Autosys, which produces auto parts such as brake pads, has been dumping trash on the farmland, currently owned by Liu Yuying, a 55-year-old Miyun resident.
She said the 12.26 hectares of land Daxinzhuang Village Committee leased to her has been totally ruined by the dumping, and is now unsuitable for agricultural use.
"We sued the company at Miyun Court in April 2012 but lost over a lack of evidence," she said, noting that she has now filed suit at Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court. The court asked her to provide stronger evidence before a judgment can be made.
Liu said she leased the land from May 2010 to 2060 and paid rent of 13.8 million yuan ($2.2 million) to the village committee.
"I first found the black powder scattered on my land in September 2011," she said, noting that although she informed the local environmental protection authorities and KB, the dumping continued.
"The company was still dumping the pollutants secretly until we sent guards in September 2012," Liu said.
Mao Da, a researcher at Nature University, said the black powder found on the land contains chemical elements such as antimony, lead, silver, and strontium, some of which are used to polish brake pads.
"All of these elements have seriously exceeded the recommended safety levels and might damage the local environment as well as villagers nearby," he said.
"The international recommended level for antinomy is 3.5 to 5 parts per million but we found levels of antimony that exceeded this standard by 10,000 times," said Mao.
Mao noted that since the XRF (X-ray fluorescence) device they used for testing Saturday is not completely accurate, they will ask a third party to repeat the tests.
"These toxic pollutants have been irresponsibly dumped on this land for years without getting the attention of local environmental protection authorities as a result of their negligence," Mao said, noting that KB and the local government should take responsibility for the pollution.
Chen Nengchang, the vice director of the Soil Pollution and Remediation Committee of the Guangdong Society of Soil Sciences, was one of the experts invited by Nature University to inspect the dump site Saturday.
"This is a serious case of chemical elements being dumped by a foreign company and ruining the land," he said, after he looked around.
A man employed to guard the land pointed out a large hole in the ground in which bags of black powder had been dumped, with nothing growing in the vicinity.
Chen said that the government should be responsible for the damage since they have not paid enough attention to the irresponsible dumping after it was going on for years.
"How much trash has been buried on the land and how much it has affected the local environment will be unclear until proper and thorough research takes place," he said.
The director of the law enforcement department of Miyun environmental protection bureau, surnamed Zhang, confirmed KB had illegally dumped trash on the land.
"The company was fined 180,000 yuan for irresponsible dumping of trash," she said, noting that Liu's land is designated for forestry, not agriculture, so it is not suitable for planting vegetables.
Liu said that although the company paid compensation to the local government, she did not receive any.
"I want the company to pay for the damage to the land and make the land fit to grow vegetables in the future," she said.
A director of the administration office of KB, surnamed Cui, refused to comment.
"This case is not under my remit," she said, refusing to give the contact for the member of staff responsible.