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SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China has detained three people suspected to be responsible for the discharge into a river of industrial waste water containing 180 times the maximum safe amount of zinc, state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday.
The detentions of a factory owner and two managers followed an inspection in Linhai city, in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, that revealed the dumping of unprocessed waste water by a plant making auto repair tools, Xinhua said.
It cited an unnamed city official as saying the water, used for metal polishing and surface treatment, showed excessive levels of zinc, bronze and nickel, with the zinc content at more than 180 times the limit.
The three suspects face charges of polluting the environment, and could be jailed for up to seven years if convicted, the agency added.
Worried by the social and political impact of pollution, China has vowed to crack down on lawbreaking companies and the local governments that protect them.
Efforts to tackle water pollution remain uneven, however, with some areas worsening in 2016, the environment ministry said in April.
Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez