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21 Oct 2021


Kazakhstani authorities turn blind eye to Chinese corporate polluters, report alleges

Kazakhstan turning ‘blind eye’ to Chinese corporate polluters – watchdog, 20 October 2021

Officials in Kazakhstan appear to be giving preferential treatment to Chinese businesses operating in the country when it comes to enforcing environmental protection standards, the watchdog group Crude Accountability alleges.

Based on first-hand observations and research, Crude Accountability highlights conditions at two Chinese projects in Shymkent, a city in southern Kazakhstan near the Uzbek border. Residents living near both facilities – an oil refinery and a steel mill – have lodged numerous complaints about foul odors and “intense emissions” occurring at night. In one two-day period in July, a local web portal received 289 individual messages about questionable operations at the recently refurbished refinery run by a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), according to Crude Accountability.

The October 18 statement says local authorities have “turned a blind eye to the complaints,” adding that no automated air-quality monitoring systems are located near the facilities in question. Local environmental protection officials rely on data supplied by the companies, Crude Accountability said.

Independent spot checks of emissions are impossible “because advance permission is necessary, which tips off the polluters ahead of time,” the Virginia-based nonprofit contended.

In addition to abundant emissions, residents near the refinery reported that local wells are drying up, attributing the problem to the facility’s “continuous pumping of groundwater […] for its needs.”...

“Using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse, government agencies and Kazakh-Chinese companies have drastically limited possibilities for public environmental monitoring of polluters’ activities,” the group said...