People living near a chemical plant northern China have suffered from the effects of serious pollution created by a nearby factory for five years, but authorities have turned a blind eye to their complaints, according to a news agency report. The company in Ruzhou in Henan province, a subsidiary of a state-owned energy and chemicals firm, has over a dozen chimneys pumping out black or grey dust every day since it started operations in 2011, the China News Service reported. Where in China can you find the worst air pollution? You might be surprised ... Residents were quoted as saying they have never seen blue sky since. A pond near the plant now contains a small mound of dark powder created by the factory, the report said. “If you stand near the plant for half an hour, you will see the water get black when you wash your hair,” one villager was quoted as saying. “For households several kilometres away, if they dry their clothes in their courtyards, clothes can be covered with dust when they collect them.” Another villager said he develops itchy bumps on his skin in the summer when exposed to dust. A vice chief engineer at the company told the news agency there were 16 dust outlets and up to 4,000 tonnes of dust discharged every month. But he said the company uses leading technologies to control pollution and the discharges met official standards. China’s environment chief touts ‘clean’ coal tech but admits people need to clean up their act too Over the past years residents kept reporting the issue to the local environmental protection bureau, but the reply was always “we are dealing with it”, villagers were quoted as saying. An official from the bureau responded that the emissions from the plant met their requirements and promised to punish the firm if they detected black smoke from its chimneys, as shown in a photograph taken by the news agency. The factory produces calcium carbide, which has wide industrial uses including in the production of fertiliser.