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1 Okt 2016

Peter Whoriskey, Washington Post

In your phone, In their Air

….The companies making [lithium-ion batteries] promote the bright futuristic possibilities of the “clean” technology. But virtually all such batteries use graphite, and its cheap production in China, often under lax environmental controls, produces old-fashioned industrial pollution.

…Washington Post journalists heard the same story from villagers living near graphite companies: sparkling night air, damaged crops, homes and belongings covered in soot, polluted drinking water — and government officials inclined to look the other way to benefit a major employer….Some provinces in China sought to crack down on the polluters...Villagers said the cleanup efforts failed — they were short-lived or otherwise inadequate — because local authorities are closely allied with company officials...

[WP] asked consumer-product companies and battery makers about their graphite supply chains, [which include] Amazon, Apple, General Motors, LG Chem, LG, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Samsung SDI (battery-maker), DK/Amperex Technology Ltd. (ATL) Toyota, BTR, Aoyu, Haida Graphite, Henson Graphite [some responses included]...Whether consumer companies are adhering to their environmental bona fides, however, is difficult to know, especially if the supply chain leads back to China. One obstacle is the complexity of supply chains and the secrecy that surrounds them…[and] those who live near the factories, are often unwilling to complain publicly, especially in China.