Chinese workers recover more than 2,000 dead pigs from river near Shanghai

Drinking water remains safe, authorities say

A resident looks at a dead pig floating on the river on Monday, March 11, 2013 on the outskirts of Shanghai, China. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Hundreds of dead pigs continue to float to the surface on the Huangpu River near Shanghai, which acts as a major source of drinking water for 23 million people.

More than 2,000 carcases have already been removed and they are thought to be the result of illegal dumping from farms upriver, reports BBC News. “We have to act quickly to remove them all for fear of causing water pollution,” Xu Rong, an environmental official, told a state newspaper.

Chinese news agency Xinhua puts the number of pigs in the water at around 2,800 and says that 1,600 had been removed by Sunday night. “Labels pinned in the ears of the pigs for tracing purposes have indicated they come from the upper reaches of Jiaxing City in east China’s Zhejiang Province,” Xinhua writes.

Concerns over what the pig dump could mean for human health were mounting by Monday, when tests showed that the water contained the pig-borne disease porcine circovirus, reports The Wall Street Journal. However, Chinese authorities said humans are not susceptible to that virus and the water remains safe.

However, citizens weren’t so sure about water safety. “Related government departments should seriously investigate this and get to the bottom of it,” Reuters quotes blogger Ting Tao as saying. “The government should really pay attention to people’s lives and take no time to solve food safety issues.”

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