Water/Wastewater

  • A river in China is running red thanks to pollution

China river runs red from pollution

Jul 29 2014 Comments 0

The Wenzhou River in east China's Zhejiang province turned blood red in the early hours of the morning some time last week due to an unknown contaminant. Witnesses claim that the river was still its usual colour at 4am local time, but flowed red several hours later. It has sparked a new environmental concern for the people of China.

As well as the bright red colour, some residents in the area of the river have complained of a strong, acrid smell. Initial investigations performed by the local environmental protection bureau have found no sign of any chemical discharge from the factories along the river. Factories that line the river include those that manufacture food colouring, clothes and paper.

Although the contaminant responsible for the sudden change in water colour has not been located, Yixiu W, who tracks water pollution issues for Greenpeace, said the latest incident is a sign that urban residents are being increasingly affected by environmental issues. Previously, environmental issues mostly affected those that relied on agriculture for their lifestyles, however, cities are now experiencing more problems.

Wenzhou is a the commercial hub on China's eastern coast and so this incident of water pollution could have a large impact. According to environmentalist Ma Jun, this latest incident marks an important time in China's battle against pollution, with the next 20 years being critical. 

This is just the latest in a string of incidents that have impacted water quality and the environment. The Yangtze River also turned red in 2012 following the illegal dumping of chemicals by a factory. In 2013 over 2,000 dead pigs were found in a river in Shanghai.

On top of these incidents, China's government has also identified a huge number of "cancer villages", where high pollution levels mean there are increased rates of cancer.  

Water pollution is a major issue throughout the nation and is impacted by the high levels of air pollution in many areas. China has now renewed its commitment to dealing with environmental issues in a bid to reduce overall pollution.

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