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Yesterday we reported on a riot at a solar panel factory in Zhejiang Province, where 500 villagers stormed the facility... angry over toxic chemicals not being properly disposed of. And although the company has made an apology for the controversy, villagers continue to worry about the impact the chemicals will have on their health.
Following the protest and riot by over 500 villagers last Thursday, the Jinko Solar Panel manufacturing company has issued an apology on Monday. However, villagers are still wary.
People from the nearby village of Hongxiao are angry that the factory's improper waste disposal is harming their environment. Many fear the air and water pollution will negatively impact their health.
[Shi Shuiqiang, Villager]:
"Common people like us have no way of measuring the pollution. We don't even know anything about whether there is any pollution. If there is no pollution, we will believe the government that there is no pollution. Then, the authorities should filter and boil the water from the nearby stream and we all drink it together."
The irony is that solar panels are supposed to be environmentally-friendly, not harmful. However, the process for producing them uses various toxic chemicals.
[Li Ang, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace China]:
"In China, a lot of manufacturers of solar panels hope to keep their costs down by using relatively out of date technology. Doing this is no different to drinking poison when you're thirsty, as it will greatly harm the future development of solar technology."
The company has promised to clean up its mess, but villagers are wary. Similar protests have succeeded in cities such as Dalian and Xiamen, but rural protests rarely get answered by authorities.