A non-governmental organization has warned that huge amounts of untreated toxic industrial waste is piling up across China, posing a major risk to the environment.
The environmental protection organization Greenpeace revealed that over 5,000 tons of chromium residue was illegally dumped on roadsides and in mountains by a chemical factory in Yunnan's Qujing city, causing the deaths of 77 head of livestock.
Tests conducted by the organization also showed that the concentration of sexivalent chromium in the water was 242 times the national standard, the China Daily reports.
A national remediation scheme for chromium residue pollution in 2005 showed over four million tons of the chemical had been stockpiled untreated in 19 provinces.
"Most of the waste was not properly disposed of, but directly discharged into the environment. Some of it was even dumped in important water sources and densely populated areas," said the scheme published on the website of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planning agency.
It also said chromium residue had seriously polluted surface water, groundwater and soil, and posed a serious threat to people's lives and property.
The 2010 Report on the State of the Environment in China has revealed that three million tons of the residue in seven provinces have been treated, which means there are still one million tons left untreated in 12 provinces.
Official data showed that China is the world's largest producer and consumer of chromium with an annual production capacity of over 300,000 tons.
The chemical is widely used for the manufacture of stainless steel, leather and bicycle parts.