SHANGHAI (Reuters) - An environmental protection bureau in northwest China said police temporarily detained an executive at a Coca-Cola Co bottling facility in Gansu province after it found the facility had falsified pollution data.
In a report on its website, the Lanzhou city office of China’s Environmental Protection Bureau said authorities found Gansu COFCO Coca-Cola Beverage Co Ltd had tampered with data by altering the way it sampled and monitored its sewage output. The news was carried by local media outlets on Thursday.
Police detained at least one of the facility’s executives for five days earlier this month as punishment, the Lanzhou environmental bureau’s statement said.
Coca-Cola officials did not respond to repeated telephone calls and emails seeking comment.
The Gansu facility, part of a joint venture between Chinese food processor COFCO Corp [CNCOF.UL] and Coca-Cola, said in a statement that it “attached great importance” to the matter and that an internal investigation had determined irregularities with monitoring equipment led to false data.
The company would “rigorously strengthen internal oversight and put an end to the future occurrence of similar issues”, the statement said.
Companies have been scurrying to boost their environmental credentials after China introduced tougher regulations this year to combat the country’s unwanted image of smog-choked cities, fouled waterways and heavy-metal tainted soil.
China will ban water-polluting paper mills, oil refineries, pesticide producers and other industrial plants by the end of 2016, as it moves to tackle severe pollution of the water supply which has left one-third of China’s major river basins and 60 percent of its underground water contaminated.
Beijing authorities fined a McDonald’s Corp frozen potato fries supplier earlier this year for water pollution.
Reporting by Adam Jourdan, SHANGHAI newsroom and Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by John Ruwitch and Alison Williams