China’s extreme environmental contamination has now reached water supplies as the government acknowledged that nearly 3,000 decomposing pigs were pulled recently from Shanghai’s Huangpu river, a source of drinking water for many of the 23 million residents of a city also battling hazardous levels of air pollution.
The incident is the latest environmental crisis to hit Beijing and has triggered a public outcry mainly through social media.
Reports indicate that the dead pigs were first discovered on March 7 and that the animals probably came from the upstream province, where farmers were said to have dropped them in the waterway after they died of a disease that the official Xinhua news agency qualified as porcine circovirus (PCV).
The incident – dubbed "Hogwash" by some media– is the latest reminder of the toxicity of certain water supplies caused mainly by fertilizer run-off, chemical spills and untreated sewage. However, authorities say the water is still safe to drink.
Last year, China's vice-minister for water resources, Hu Siyi, admitted that 20% of the country's rivers were "too toxic for human contact," while 40% were severely polluted.
Air pollution is the result of the country's heavy dependence upon coal to power its breakneck economic development as China is currently the world's number one importer of the solid fossil fuel.
Image from AP, via You Tube