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Environmental report in China targets Apple, suppliers

Chinese people line up to buy iPhone 4 at a new Apple store in Beijing, China.

Steve Chiotakis: In China, a prominent environmental group is accusing suppliers for computer giant Apple of widespread pollution. It's calling on Apple to come out and identify which companies and factories help build its products.

But as Marketplace China bureau chief Rob Schmitz reports, Apple's not saying much.


Rob Schmitz: In a video released with the report, a sad violin plays behind an old man navigating a waterway of polluted milky-white water. According to the report, the water he's paddling through is discharge from a factory along the Yangzee River that makes circuit boards for Apple.

The man says: "This generation drinks polluted water, the next one will drink poisoned water."

Ma Jun, the report's author, says samples of the water found the concentration of the heavy metal nickel to be 11 times the amount allowed by Chinese law.

Ma Jun: Apple is taking advantage of the loopholes in the management system of China and they collaborate with all these bad polluters at the expenses of the environment and of local public health.

In an email to Ma's group, Apple said several of the companies listed in the report were not Apple suppliers, but it wouldn't specify which ones. As a rule, Apple doesn't identify its suppliers. Ma's group is trying to change that. Apple did offer to hold a conference call with the group about the report.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz, for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.

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