Hundreds of Pig Carcasses Contaminate Water Source for 4 Million People

March 23, 2010 9:55 am Last Updated: March 23, 2010 1:31 pm

An estimated 550 dead pigs have been retrieved at the lower reaches of the Qiantang River, the water source for four million residents of Hangzhou, the capital of eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. No one knows if they drowned or died from disease.

Morning News Today reported on March 17 that flooding at the upper reaches of the river had washed down a lot of garbage along with dead chickens, ducks, geese, and even pigs weighing up to several hundred pounds.

A workman in Wenyan, a town near Hangzhou, said he hadn’t seen anything like this in the last five years. “These dead pigs gave off a most noxious smell.” He said they were removing up to 100 pig carcasses a day between March 9 and March 17.

River manager Huang Haizhen said, “Fortunately these bodies were not floating close to the intakes of surface drinking water. Thus the water was not polluted.”

Some internet users questioned his point. “Wasn't the presence of so many dead pigs in itself polluting the water?” and “Only the corpses drifting close to drinking water intakes would contaminate the water?”

Morning News Today reporters checked with some local pig farmers along the rivers trying to find where the dead pigs came from.

They found some dead pigs still floating in one of the upper reaches known as the Fuchun River. These corpses would follow the flood, eventually ending up in the Qiantang River.

Mr. Chen, a local resident in the town of Wenyan said, “We don’t know when it began, maybe three to five years ago, but every summer a lot of dead pigs would be found floating in the river. Nobody would tell us where they came from.”

Mr. Jiang, another resident said: “I know many people living along the river throw their garbage directly into the river. That might be the reason.”

No one had an answer for why so many carcasses appeared at this time.

Read the original Chinese article.