Shanghai: Shanghai residents are fretting over the quality of their drinking water supply as nearly 3000 dead pigs have been found floating in Huangpu River since Friday. The River is one of the main sources catering to China's largest city's water supply but the monitoring authorities deny any affect on water quality, reports said Tuesday.
The images of floating pig carcasses - many with exposed internal organs - on social media has sparked fresh health fears among Chinese who are already grappling with the air pollution risk.
Locals fear that pigs might have contaminated the river water that is one of the main sources of their daily use water but the city's water supply bureau said the water quality of Shanghai had not been affected by the floating dead pigs. "The data of water quality are all within the normal range."
The recent surge in the dumping of dead pigs upstream from Shanghai follows a police campaign to curb the illicit trade in sick pig parts.
The effort to keep infected pork off dinner tables might end up polluting city's drinking water supply, Shanghai residents fear, though authorities there say no contamination has been detected.
In China, pigs that have died from disease should be either incinerated or buried, but some unscrupulous farmers and animal control officials have sold problematic carcasses to slaughterhouses. The pork harvested from such carcasses has ended up in markets. As a food safety problem, it has drawn attention from China's Ministry of Public Security, which has made it a priority to crack down on gangs that purchase dead diseased pigs and process them for illegal profits.
On Monday, Shanghai officials said the number of dumped adult and piglet carcasses retrieved had reached 2,813. The city government, citing monitoring authorities, said the drinking water quality has not been affected.
Shanghai's Agriculture Committee said authorities don't know what caused the pigs to die, but that they have detected a sometimes-fatal pig disease in at least one of the carcasses. The disease is associated with the porcine circovirus, which is widespread in pigs but doesn't affect humans or other livestock.
Shanghai's city government said initial investigations had found the dead pigs had come from Jiaxing city in neighboring Zhejiang province. It said it had not found any major epidemic.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 12:16