Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Porcine-Flavoured Water...

Chinese sarcasm knows no bounds when it comes to criticizing the government
People living in or around Shanghai must be thinking twice about drinking the water there.

The fact that over 6,000 pig carcasses  were found in a section of the Huangpu River near the metropolis speaks to the contradictions in China. While there are neck-breaking tall skyscrapers and subways down below, water quality is still a pressing issue in this big city.

There's still no explanation of how the pig carcasses got into the river which flows through the southwestern Songjiang district, but officials are quick to say the water quality in the area meet standards, according to hourly tests by the district's water affairs bureau.

Hourly seems excessive and probably no one's anxieties have been eased by the local government insisting the water is fine.

While the dead pigs were pulled out of the water, workers added no less than 20 parts per million of activated carbon and added extra chlorine.

Officials claim the water is safe, saying there was a lot of water in the affected area of the river, and a high percentage of the carcasses were intact hinting they weren't eaten by fish or insects.

We're not talking a few pigs... it's a few thousand. Surely dead pigs are going to affect water quality...

Yang Jing, a medical staff member at a hospital in Songjiang said she was "numb" to the authorities' efforts to ensure water and food safety.

"I don't think officials regard these problems seriously... nothing is safe here, she said.

The fact that the authorities still have not found why the pigs have died and also who dumped them in the river in the first place is shocking.

While Shanghai's animal disease control department has found porcine circovirus, a common pig disease that is not known to be infectious to humans, a veterinarian at Yangzhou University in Jiangsu believes it was an epidemic.

Officials are obviously anxious to downplay the crisis to avoid having their heads on the chopping block, but this is a matter of public health.

We would like to see another dare, similar to last month's where a businessman challenged the local environmental protection chief to swim in the garbage-filled Rui'an city in Zhejiang province.

How about challenging Songjiang officials to drink the tap water? Or do they have their own limitless supply of bottled water?

Sooner or later incoming President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will be investigating what is going on.

Surely it would be better for local authorities to look like they're doing something instead of trying to sweep the mess under the carpet, or in this case down the river?

In the meantime what can residents do? They've been inspired by Ang Lee's Life of Pi and changed it to Life of Pig, a boy stuck on a boat in an ocean filled with pig carcasses...

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