Reuters

That brings the total to about 6,000 dead hogs since Monday, but authorities claim the water is just fine.

The Huangpu River, a source of drinking water to Shanghai's 23 million residents, should basically be called rotting swine soup. Some 3,000 more decomposing pigs have been found in the river near Shanghai since Monday, bringing the number to about 6,000 dead hogs, but authorities claim that water is just fine.

"If the water is contaminated, we will put more disinfectants and activated carbon to purify the water," Qian Huizhong, Deputy Director of Xiaokunshan Water Plant in Shanghai was quoted as saying in Xinhua, China's state-run news agency. Officials also said "no pollution has been found" in Shanghai's water quality. Officials said "the city is working to ensure its water quality, including removing pigs while they are further upstream, setting up aquatic plant barriers and increasing the frequency of quality checks," reports Shanghai Daily. The local government released a statement explaining that "the water quality of the upper reaches of the Huangpu river is generally stable, basically similar to the same period last year."

So on the bright side, the water quality is basically the same as last year. And on the not-so-bright side, exactly how terrible was the water quality in the Huangpu if 6,000 dead pigs don't move the needle? On Monday it was reported that the dead pigs were marinating in other refuse, like medical waste and a sex doll. According to CNN's water expert, those Chinese water authorities might be minimizing the toll of those decomposing pigs are having on Shanghai's water system: 

If the water treatment process is very effective and can handle the sudden glut of contaminants, it's possible to minimize the impact, said Julian Fyfe, a senior research consultant specializing in water quality at the University of Technology Sydney.

But he added: "Most treatment plants would not be designed to accommodate that level of shock loading. It's such an unsual event."  [...] "If they are chlorinating heavily, which a lot of places may do, especially if they've got a very polluted water body to start with, then the effects could potentially be small," Fyfe said.

Even if Shanghai residents don't believe what the authorities are feeding them about the water, they don't really have a choice but to accept it. In China's eastern province of Zheijhang,  environmentalist Chen Yuqian dared authorities to swim in a local, very-polluted river to make a point about how dirty it was. Late last month, Chen told Radio Free Asia that "40 unidentified people had showed up at his home and smashed it up, beating him up in the process."

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A person tapes an eviction notice to the door of an apartment.
    Equity

    Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

    Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

  2. A photo of a Google employee on a bicycle.
    Equity

    Google’s $1 Billion Housing Pledge Is All About the Land

    The single largest commitment by a private employer to address the Bay Area’s acute affordable housing crisis is also unique in its focus on land redevelopment.

  3. Environment

    Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

    The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

  4. photo of Arizona governor Doug Ducey
    Perspective

    Why FOMO Is the Enemy of Good Urban Mobility Policy

    Fear of Missing Out does not make good transportation policy. Sometimes a new bus shelter is a better investment than flashy new technology.

  5. a photo collage of 2020 presidential candidates.
    Equity

    Will Housing Swing the 2020 Election?

    Among Democratic candidates for president, the politics of America’s housing affordability crisis are getting complicated. Just wait until Trump barges in.

×