Illegal mining operations in China cut regular water supply for 30,000 people

More than 100 illegal mining operations in south China's Guangxi Zhuang region have been shut down and their operators incarcerated after industrial waste entered a river contaminating drinking water and killing fish, China Daily reports.

Floods and torrential rains carried thallium and cadmium – carcinogenic and poisonous heavy metals pollutants – into the Maweihe River where 30,000 people will wait about three weeks to start using the stream again.

The contamination is affecting about 110 km of the river, Xu Zhencheng, leader of the task force set up to investigate the pollution, told China Daily.

Water treatment plants using the Maweihe will have to use backup water sources until the pollutants are cleared up.

Illegal mining operations in China have caused environmental disasters before, with a coal illegmine flood killing nine people in May.

Creative Commons image by: Lyn Gateley