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'Dead pig dumping scandal' grows in Shanghai

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It was something that would have been very difficult to have kept quiet or secret: The corpses of at least 6,000 pigs were pulled out of the river that flows through the center of Shanghai. Much more is expected to be founding the coming days and weeks. Officials say that the wat3r is still drinkable - in the meantime, dozens of people are facing hard time on account of the incident.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - in the meantime, 46 people have been convicted of selling contaminated meat from the pigs in Zhejiang Province. The sentences handed down were from six months top six-and-a-half years in prison.

The "dead pig dumping scandal" in neighboring Shanghai has been growing since last week, the Xinhua press agency reported. The corpses "were allegedly dumped in the river by pig farms in Zhejiang's Jiaxing City."

"Since when is finding dead rotting pigs in a major river not a public health problem?" one Sina Weibo user, the country's popular micro-blog service, asked. "Answer: When this happens in China."

"Since apparently, the water has not been contaminated, big leaders, please go ahead and have the first drink," another Weibo user quipped.

A water sample was found to contain a porcine circovirus, Xinhua said. The World Health Organization says there are two types of porcine circoviruses, but neither is known to cause disease in humans.

"If the water is contaminated, we will put more the disinfectants and activated carbon to purify the water," an official from a Shanghai water plant was quoted as saying.

The pink, decomposing blobs have wreaked foul odors and alarmed residents. "There were dead pigs all around and they really stunk," one local resident told CNN. "Of course, we're worried, but what can you do about it? It's water that we have to drink and use."

Julian Fyfe, a senior research consultant specializing in water quality at the University of Technology Sydney says that if the water treatment process is very effective and can handle the sudden glut of contaminants, it's possible to minimize the impact.

However, "most treatment plants would not be designed to accommodate that level of shock loading. It's such an unusual event," he added.

"If they are chlorinating heavily, which a lot of places may do, especially if they've got a very polluted water body to start with, then the effects could potentially be small," Fyfe said.

Pig corpses that have been in the water for days would leak blood, intestinal fluids and other pollutants, which could alter the taste and color of local tap water and many residents have begun drinking bottled water due to fears of contamination.

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