Chinese textile dye manufacturer, Ningxia Mingsheng Dye Chemical Co., was ordered to shut down its factory located on the edge of the Tengger Desert in Northwest China, after authorities found it was discharging wastewater into the desert surrounding the facility.
Ningxia has created two illegal football field-sized pools of black, green and red wastewater, which have reportedly leaked into other parts of the desert, turning sand unnatural colors and giving off a strong, sour odor. A local resident told Beijing News they had to wear face masks when walking past the pools or they would feel dizzy and develop dry throats.
The Zhongwei City government in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region has ordered the factory to be demolished by the end of the year. The factory’s owners are also required to restore the environment after demolition. The environmental protection bureau has yet to reveal further punishment, however, it has announced that the company would have to relocate the factory to the Zhongwei Industrial Park.
According to Beijing News, the company has been polluting into this desert, one of China’s largest, for more than 10 years. The Tengger Desert is about 14,000 square miles and was once home to lush grass and several national level protected plants.