Beijing, March 11: More than 2,800 dead pigs have been found in a major river that flows through Shanghai, igniting fears among city residents of contaminated tap water, according to state news media reports today.
Some reports said the pigs had probably been dumped by farmers into the Huangpu river, which slices through the heart of Shanghai. Officials were trying today to determine who exactly had dumped the pigs, which were first discovered last Thursday. The numbers increased quickly over the weekend and the total is expected to grow as search barges looking for pigs return to Shanghai.
Shanghai Waterworks, which manages tap water in Shanghai, said last night that the water still meets drinking standards, according to Xinhua, the state news agency. Shanghai officials said the group is now monitoring the water quality by the hour.
A sample of the river water tested positive for porcine circovirus, which officials said can be found in pigs but does not spread to humans, Xinhua reported. “So far, water quality has not been affected, but we have to remove the pigs as quickly as possible and can’t let their bodies rot in the water,” Xu Rong, director of Shanghai’s Songjiang District Environmental Protection Bureau, told Global Times, a state-run newspaper.
Xu said samples of the dead pigs had been sent to an agricultural commission to determine what killed them. Officials would have answers within three days, he said.
Many Chinese are expressing growing concern over air, soil and water pollution. In recent weeks, several official news organisations have run articles and editorials casting a spotlight on pollution of some of China’s major waterways. In one prominent case, a 39-ton chemical spill on December 31 from a fertiliser factory in Shanxi Province affected two other provinces downstream. Local officials had delayed reporting the chemical spill for five days.
A statement issued today by the Shanghai government and posted on its website said that there were piglets as well as adult animals s weighing hundreds of pounds. Residents in Songjiang district, the area southwest of downtown Shanghai where most of them have been discovered, said this was not the first time they had seen dead pigs in the Huangpu river. But this time, the number was higher than in the past, according to the city government’s statement.
A preliminary inquiry has found that the dead pigs originated in Zhejiang province, which is south of Shanghai and upstream on the Huangpu river. Songjiang district officials said they were gathering all the dead pigs in one place to safely dispose them.