A chemical factory and its legal representative in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region have been punished for dumping untreated waste in the Tengger Desert.
According to a court statement, Mingsheng Dye Chemical Co. in Zhongwei City was fined 5 million yuan (about 817,580 U.S. dollars), and the company's legal representative, Lian, was given an 18 month sentence with a two-year reprieve and fined 50,000 yuan.
The company was found to have illegally dumped industrial waste since 2007, and was shut down last September. Media reports said the contamination threatened groundwater in the area.
Since beginning of the year, companies in Gansu, Inner Mongolia and Ningxia, which border the desert, have been investigated for dumping waste in the desert.
In March, a private enterprise in the northwest province of Gansu was fined more than 3 million yuan for dumping over 80,000 tonnes of waste water in the desert.
The revised Environmental Protection Law, which came into effect in January, brought with it heavier punishments.