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Latest China river saga: Pig pollution

Chinese were told Thursday of yet another contaminated river incident — this one due to pig excrement.
Pigs in their pen at a farm on the outsk
Pig farms like this one are common in China's southwest Sichuan province, where a spill of pig waste contaminated a local river last week.Peter Parks / AFP - Getty Images file
/ Source: Reuters

Chinese were told Thursday of yet another contaminated river incident — this one due to pig excrement. Domestic media reported that homes in a rural area of southwest China were allowed to turn the water back on this week after pig waste flooded a local river and forced water supplies to shut down for six days.

More than 7,000 people in Renshou county, Sichuan province, were said to have gone without running water after the waste from a local pig farm flowed directly into the Tiaodeng River on Dec. 8.

“The water was murky and grayish-black, with white foam floating on the surface of the river and it gave off a stench,” the report said of the defiled stretch of the Tiaodeng.

The report did not say what happened further downstream.

In late November, a toxic slick on the Songhua River in northern China, caused by an explosion at chemical plant, led to the shutdown of water supplies to millions of people downstream.

Chinese environment officials have said that the density of the benzene pollution in the Songhua has declined sharply and should further dilute before it flows into the Amur river, which forms a natural border between China and Russia and then winds into Russian territory.

And central China saw a pollution scare on Wednesday when a chemical tanker trunk fell off a ferry and plunged into a tributary of the Yangtze River, leaking some of the 20 tons of alkali it was carrying. Officials did not specify what kind of alkali was involved.

The downstream city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and home to around 7 million people, was on low alert for possible contamination, though China’s State Environmental Protection Administration said the incident had not caused serious pollution, Xinhua news agency said.