Beijing: Six Chinese companies have been fined a whopping USD 26 million by a court for discharging waste chemicals into rivers, the biggest such penalty imposed in the communist nation.
The companies from Taizhou City in eastern China were ordered to pay the amount to an environmental protection fund within 30 days.
They were found guilty of discharging 25,000 tons of waste acid into two rivers, which caused serious pollution, according to a ruling by Jiangsu Provincial Higher People's court yesterday.
It is the highest fine of its kind in China ever imposed, state-run Xinhua news agency reported
In August, Taizhou Intermediate People's court sentenced 14 people involved in the pollution to prison terms ranging from two to five years and ordered the companies to pay 160 million yuan within nine months.
The six companies appealed and Jiangsu Provincial Higher People's court upheld the ruling.
The hefty fines were expected to set a new precedent to deter companies from polluting the river systems affecting the drinking waters sources for millions of people in the down stream.