China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) is suspected to have violated the conditions of an environmental permit in relation to the construction of the local section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
The company is facing allegations that it discharged effluents into the sea during the construction work, Apple Daily reported.
China State Construction began work in May 2012, under a contract worth HK$8.88 billion (US$1.14 billion), for the Hong Kong section of the cross-sea bridge.
The work includes reclamation of 23 hectares of land from the sea and construction of a 2.6-kilometer road and a tunnel to connect the Scenic Hill in Chek Lap Kok to the bridge.
According to the Apple Daily report, the firm discharged effluents into an area close to Kwo Lo Wan Road and near the headquarters of the Civil Aviation Department.
An unidentified source was quoted as saying that she heard from a relative, who is a contractor himself, that China State Construction has been releasing effluents into the sea for quite some time.
The company suspended the discharge for a while in the past, but has since resumed the illegal waste dumping, the person said, citing video footage taken by the relative.
The person accused the government of failing to do a good job in protecting the environment and the endangered Chinese white dolphins that are known to inhabit the waters.
The Highways Department, meanwhile, is said to have confirmed that it had sent a warning letter to the China State Construction previously and asked the firm to halt improper handling of mudwater produced during construction work.
Asked for its comments, the Environmental Protection Department said that it had on Sept. 24 sent some officials to the site for an investigation, but the inspectors found no effluent discharge.
According to the Water Pollution Control Ordinance, contractors who violate rules could face a fine up to HK$200,000 and possible suspension or revocation of permits.
Roy Tam, president of environmental group Green Sense, said there have been several cases in recent years where Chinese contractors have been ignoring Hong Kong environmental regulations.
The government should blacklist the errant entities and prevent them from undertaking any work here in the future, he said.
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