1,200 dead pigs floating in Shanghai River points to heavy water pollution
We don’t know yet if the polluted water has killed too many pigs, or too many dead pigs have polluted the water, but the sight of over 1,200 bodies of domesticated pigs floating with tons of garbage and flotsam in Songjiang River, which has the city of Shanghai downsteam and has been its 20 million residents’ source of drinking water, is beyond disgusting.
It is reported that since January, over 20,000 pigs have died in the neighboring rural villages. The mass death event has overwhelmed pig farmers as well as villages living in that area.
Because the pig bodies have been soaked in the water for too long, each one is swollen like a rubber ball. Some of them are so rotten that their internal organs are clearly visible. The overpowering stench of the pigs as the result of prolonged sun exposure and heat in Shanghai these days has made most reporters on the scene sick.
A villager in her 60s told Xinmin Evening News that she saw before pigs secretly dumped into the river after they died from diseases. She said these carcasses might have drifted down from the upper streams lately, although it is also likely that they were pigs raised and dumped by residents in the village.
The local authorities have been fishing carcasses out of water. So far, more than 900 have been removed and sent for non-pollutive carcass disposal. Retrieval effort is going on.
A staff member at Shanghai’s Water Supply Bureau told Xinmin that the water quality has not been affected, and the bureau so far has no plan to stop using water from the river or halt water supply altogether, although it vows to keep monitoring the water quality in the event of a deterioration as the result of the incident.
The city’s agricultural commission said that no evidence has been found to support the claim that farmers have been improperly disposing of pig carcasses. Nor has there been any report of animal epidemic outbreaks.
But Jiaxing Daily, a state-run newspaper circulated in Zhejiang province, disclosed
Saturday earlier on its official Sina Weibo page, the Chinese answer to Twitter, that 10,078 pigs died in January and 8,325 in February. Into March, an average number of 300 pigs are killed each day. “Mass graves for burial of the pigs have been dug one after another. If it goes on like this, we can’t hold it,” the Weibo post reads.
Jiaxing Daily blows the lid on pig death toll on Sina Weibo.
The news has clearly set off alarm on Weibo. Net users are not only concerned about food safety and water quality being compromised by this incident, but questioning what caused so many pigs to die as well. Others worry that the government has been covering up the issue in the past few months.
Selected comments from Sina Weibo:
一马平川在路上V2: People in Shanghai are rewarded with free pork soup every day, how lucky!
上海天气预报台：A few months later, we will be ready to eat some pork rice balls from Jiaxing.
神舟十八: Each month, ten thousand pigs die in one village. That’s over 100,000 pig deaths a year. What about the entire region? Where has meat of so many dead pigs gone? Probably to the stomachs of you and me. Do you really think you have never consumed pork from a dead pig?
上海优活指南: What on earth is this? Are we sure there is no pollution at the source?
杨浦机器猫：So now water and pork in Shanghai are both unsafe.
举两个栗子：I am really worried that questionable pork will hit the market. Besides, will burying sick pigs affect the quality of underground water?
超宁冲：Deaths of pigs are not frightening. What’s frightening is the cause still hasn’t been determined despite so many pig deaths. Do they want to give up the investigation? Or they did investigate, but are unwilling to disclose the results?
科协工作者：It’s been more than two months. Nice cover-up job.
刘裕xv：Why the word didn’t come out until two months passed? Did the government try to suppress it? If it is because of feed containing genetically modified soybeans, will humans eating such pork okay? The government, where are you when the people need you!!