SHANGHAI — A Chinese city has opened an investigation into a BYD-owned factory over allegations that emissions from the factory are causing nosebleeds in children living nearby.
Changsha city authorities said in a statement on Sunday that they had sent a team of investigators to the BYD plant to look into the emissions allegations.
The allegations first surfaced in mid-April on a website owned by the state newspaper People’s Daily. Messages left by people living near the plant said the plant’s emissions had a strong smell, irritated the throat and caused nosebleeds to children.
Local media reported over the weekend that residents gathered at the gate of the Changsha plant on Friday to protest and urge the company to resolve the issue.
Changsha is the capital of Hunan province in southern China and has 10 million inhabitants.
BYD said in a social media post on Saturday that all emissions from the factory complied with China’s emission regulatory rules and standards.
The company said in the message that it had taken steps to improve the impact of emissions on certain residential areas next to the plant. He added, however, that he had filed police reports into the nosebleed complaints, saying they were baseless and malicious.
BYD did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Changsha City investigation on Monday.
BYD is China’s largest manufacturer of electric vehicles. Its electric vehicle sales have nearly quintupled in the first four months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, even as the country’s zero-COVID policies have disrupted operations and deliveries for many of its rivals.
The Changsha plant, which started in 2012, produced 62,500 vehicles in the first quarter, up 271 percent from a year ago, according to local official media Rednet.cn.
That was about a fifth of BYD’s total output, according to a Reuters calculation.