Water Pollution Causes Villagers to Shun Local Produce

December 2, 2010 Updated: June 17, 2012

Pollution by paper mills and fabric dye companies in Hebei Province has resulted in an unusual situation for farmers in several places there: worried about potential contaminants, they dare not eat their own produce, so they ship it out to other regions and ship in new produce for their own consumption.

This is the case for residents in Yeqiao Village, located about 500 meters (1,640.4 feet) to the west of the Hengli Dyeing plant.

Rongcheng County, Hebei Province, is known for its manufacturing of dress shirts. The fabric dye business is also flourishing there as a result, and has brought severe water pollution to the region.

Shaheying Village has about 4,000 inhabitants who make their living farming. Within the village area is also the Hengli Dyeing and Finishing Limited Corporation and the Rongxing Paper Mill, and they have been fouling up the ground water.

The Yanzhao Metropolitan News prepared a detailed report on the subject on Nov. 24. In the article a resident says that the water from his well is all black. Because of the pollution, the villagers dug a 400-mete- deep well last year; unlike the Yeiqao villagers, they think crops should be safe to consume.

Toxic Waste Water Dumping

Waste water from the Hengli Dyeing plant is discharged through underground pipes into an open 3-4 meter wide canal about 600 meters away from the factory.

A villager, whose farm runs along the canal, told the Yanzhao Metropolitan News that the grain next to the canal is not as large as grain growing further away. He said during the rainy season the wastewater from the canal spills over into the crops, and all the crops within the flooded area die. “The water probably contains stuff like acid and caustic soda,” he said.

Further to the south, there is another, deeper, canal next to a small workshop and two large trash piles nearby. A stream of dirty water is flowing out from an opening under the building, which used to be another paper mill, but now serves as an illegal recycling and reprocessing plant for the leftover plastic from the paper mill, according to the Rongcheng Environmental Control Bureau.

On Oct. 29, New Tang Dynasty television reported that 6 million tons of toxic chromium waste is piled around 20 cities across China, polluting the environment for two decades according to state media.

In Gongyi City, Henan Province, 50,000 tons of the cancer-causing chromium waste has been left standing less than 2 miles from a river.

While Chinese citizens are exposed to high levels of toxic chemicals in their water and food, China’s high-ranking officials reserve for themselves organic foods grown in special supply bases. This commonly known information was brought to light again in September 2008, soon after the melamine-tainted milk scandal broke, where infants were poisoned from tainted milk powder, and the authorities initially attempted to kill the story.

Read the original Chinese article.