After allegedly polluting a river so badly that it turned white, one of Apple's Chinese iPad supply companies has been penalised by environmental authorities.

RiTeng Computer Accessory, a Chinese hardware supplier which makes iPads and iPad minis for Apple, has been punished for dumping pollutants into a Shanghai river.

Local residents say the Railway River tributary near RiTeng's factories in Shanghai regularly turns a milky white and has done since a factory was opened two years ago. The water is so polluted that it cannot be used to water crops.

Songjiang district environmental authorities recently began to investigate the firm, and Computerworld reports that it has finally decided to penalise it in some way, although the penalty has not been confirmed. Some news organisations believe it will have to pay 270,000 yuan, or about £29,000.

Apple iPad mini

Preliminary investigations found that pollutants had leaked into the river from a storm drain, and included cutting fluid and oil.

Apple has frequently come under fire for its environmental credentials in the Far East, and for failing to monitor the behaviour of its suppliers. Friends of the Earth recently accused the company - along with Samsung - of 'trashing tropical forests and coral reefs in Indonesia' with its use of tin in the iPhone and iPad. But many of the Apple suppliers that cause outrage also supply hardware to other companies; RiTeng's factory also works for HP and Asus.

RiTeng itself has a somewhat chequered history when it comes to appropriate working conditions. At the end of 2011 a factory explosion injured 57, and the recent investigation found excessive noise levels as well as the dumping of polluting waste water.

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Apple accused of 'trashing' Indonesia thanks to use of tin in iPad and iPhone