SHANGHAI/BEIJING – Nearly 3,000 dead pigs have been found floating in Shanghai’s main waterway, the Chinese city’s government said Monday, as residents expressed fears over possible drinking water contamination.
The city government, however, said tests conducted hourly on the Songjiang section of the Huangpu River, which provides drinking water for some of Shanghai’s residents, found that its water quality was normal.
A preliminary investigation showed the dead pigs, which include both piglets and mature hogs, had floated down the river from neighboring Zhejiang Province, according to a statement on the city government’s website Monday.
Shanghai’s water bureau said workers had fished 2,813 pigs out of the water over the last two days. Photos carried by state media showed workers in blue uniforms with long-handled rakes moving the bloated, pinkish corpses.
Reports said the pigs probably had been dumped into the river by farmers in Zhejiang Province after the swine died of disease. The first bodies were discovered last Thursday.
A total of 12 boats were patrolling to fish the dead hogs out of the water, the Global Times newspaper said, as experts warned the danger to the water supply would increase if the bodies started to rot.
Separately, Shanghai’s agricultural commission said some of the pigs had tested positive for porcine circovirus, a common swine disease that does not affect humans.
The discovery of the dead pigs is the latest environmental scare in China, which has grappled with lead poisoning from battery makers, fluoride leaks from solar panel plants and acid spills from mines.