100 tons of medical waste, broken bottles and household trash were discovered few days before Christmas nearby an important drinking water reservoir in Shanghai. A massive load of garbage has floated onto the northern bank of the island, with much of it accumulated near Dongfengxisha Reservoir, one of Shanghai’s four major water sources and which supplies drinking water to 700,000 Chongming residents.
According The Guardian, the suspected culprits are two ships that have been dumping waste upstream in the Yangtze river. It has then flowed downstream to the reservoir on Shanghai’s Chongming island which is also home to 700,000 people.
Shanghai Daily reported that the area around the reservoir will take about two weeks to clear. More than 17,000 packs of floating garbage had been salvaged near the reservoir since Saturday, said Song Jian, deputy general manager with the island’s water source management company, which is in charge of the garbage collection. Most of the garbage was household waste, including broken bottles and cans as well as clothing and quilts.
Shanghai’s water authority claims supplies are still safe to drink, but has stopped the flow coming in while it continues testing, the paper said. Earlier this year more than 500 students developed nosebleeds, rashes and illnesses, some as severe as leukaemia, in what local media linked to illegal toxic dumping by chemical factories.
Although parents complained for months, local officials ignored their claims and disputed any connection despite levels of chlorobenzene, a highly toxic solvent that causes damage to the liver, kidney and nervous system, nearly 100,000 times above the safe limit. The country’s air pollution has been shown to contribute to more than 1 million deaths a year, linked to about a third of deaths in China’s major cities.