News / Asia

    Dead Pigs in Shanghai River Prompt Health Worries

    Cleaning workers retrieve the carcasses of pigs from a branch of Huangpu River in Shanghai, March 10, 2013.
    Cleaning workers retrieve the carcasses of pigs from a branch of Huangpu River in Shanghai, March 10, 2013.
    VOA News
    ​Environmental officials in China say that more than 2,200 dead pigs have been fished out of Shanghai's main waterway as of Monday, fueling concerns about the safety of the area's drinking water and criticism over the management of agricultural waste.
     
    A statement on the city's Agricultural Committee web site said that pigs' parts had been sent to be tested to assess the cause of death. Initial results showed that some animals tested positive for porcine circovirus, a common swine disease that does not affect humans.
     
    Huangpu River, Shanghai, ChinaHuangpu River, Shanghai, China
    x
    Huangpu River, Shanghai, China
    Huangpu River, Shanghai, China
    Authorities from the water supply bureau said that tests on water of the Huangpu river, where the hogs were floating, showed no contamination. They say they would continue hourly monitoring of the river's water quality.

    Tap Water Safety Questioned
     
    But online, many warned friends and family members in the area not to drink tap water.
     
    “The relevant departments still dare say that this [the dead pigs] has no bad effect on the drinking water?” one Internet user wrote on his microblog account. “Friends from Shanghai, please be very careful what tap water you drink.”
     
    Others blamed the government for turning a blind eye at the problem of agricultural waste in neighboring areas.
     
    Authorities said that ear tags on the dead pigs traced them back to upstream towns in neighboring Zhejiang province, specifically farms in two counties called Jiaxing and Pinghu.

    Possible Swine Epidemic
     
    In March, local media reported on an increasing number of dead pigs dumped outside or in the river instead. Some Internet users picked up on these reports.
     
    “Jiaxing is Shanghai next door neighbor, every month for the last three months there has been problems with over ten thousand pigs dead for a swine epidemic,” a user from Shanghai wrote on his microblog account.
     
    “Shanghai has been hiding this fact and pretended like nothing is happening. Up until a huge number of pigs is dropped in the Huangpu river. Only then, ashamed, they just say 'No problem'. Is this the mark of a responsible city government?”
     
    Authorities in Shanghai are still in the process of cleaning up the river, and said that 12 boats are still fishing the pigs out of the water.
     
    Water pollution- often caused by fertilizer runoffs, chemical spills and untreated sewage - is one of China's most critical environmental problem.

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    Comments
         
    by: Frank from: O. County, USA
    March 12, 2013 4:46 AM
    Chinese people are suffering from the secretive attitude of PRC government. It is more than abnormal that several thousands of or more hogs are killed by polluted water. China has the notorious air pollution problem, as well. Sooner or later, foreign people should leave China where human beings cannot live any longer.

    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    March 11, 2013 7:28 PM
    A total of 2200 recovered pigs in Shanghai waterway is a lot of pigs. The farms responsible for appearence of dead pigs should be closed immediately, the remaining pigs in these farms incinerated and the perpetraters of this horrific disposal of dead pigs arrested. Why the agriculture department did not know the cause of death of thousands of pigs in farms in two counties before the dead pigs started to appear in the waterway? The porcine circovirus may not be transmissible to humans. What about other microorganisms from the putrification of the pigs in the water? Only in China fishing for dead pigs is allowed!. The health department discovered water quality remains good and there is no health problem even after thousands of putirfied pigs are floating in the main waterway of Shanghai!
    In Response

    by: JOE from: XIAMEN
    March 11, 2013 11:54 PM
    I do not know how they feel when these people drink the contaminated water. I feel disgusting and painful. Yes the perpetrator should be arrested and heavily punished. Otherwise there is no hope for this country.

    by: Dave from: Seattle
    March 11, 2013 9:29 AM
    If the "authorities from the water supply bureau" claim no contamination, then let them be the first to drink the water.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    March 11, 2013 10:34 AM
    @ Dave from: Seattle, yes they do, everyone living in Shanghai drinks the same water, rich or poor, party leaders or normal people. So Communist party really want to control the pollution, they are on the same boat with normal Chinese.

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