Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Yangtze river pollution sparks panic in China

Terra Daily via AFP: A cargo ship spilled acid into China's longest river last week, contaminating tap supplies and sparking a run on bottled water in eastern China, the government and state media said. It is the nation's second water pollution scare in a month, after factories in the southern region of Guangxi contaminated water supplies for millions with toxic cadmium and other waste in January.

The ship, reportedly South Korean, was docked in Zhenjiang city on the Yangtze river last Thursday when it leaked phenol -- an acid used in detergents -- into the water because of a faulty valve, local authorities reported.

Residents started complaining their tap water had a strange smell on Friday, and soon rumours that a capsized ship was polluting the river sparked a run on bottled water in at least two cities in Jiangsu province, the Shanghai Daily said.

One photo carried by the official China Daily newspaper showed a supermarket shelf stripped nearly bare as a customer loaded water bottles into a shopping cart. The water quality had now returned to normal, the government of Zhenjiang, in Jiangsu, said in a statement late Tuesday. A resident in the city of three million told AFP the run on water appeared to have eased on Wednesday....

The Changshou Yangtze River Railroad Bridge in Chongqing municipality, China, shot by John Roberts, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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