Shanghai municipal government said in an online announcement that 5,916 swine carcasses had been retrieved from Huangpu River by 3 p.m. Tuesday, but added that municipal water remains safe. Officials say the number of pig carcasses found in Shanghai’s Huangpu River has risen to nearly 6,000.
The surge in the dumping of dead pigs – It is believed that the pigs may have come from Jiaxing in the neighbouring Zhejiang province, although the cause of their deaths is still not clear. Followed police campaigns to curb the illicit trade of pork products harvested from diseased pigs.
Shanghai authorities said the city has taken proper measures to safely dispose of the pig carcasses and that the city’s water plants are stepping up efforts to disinfect public water and testing for six common swine viruses.
In a statement, the Shanghai municipal government said that the water in Huangpu River, which is a major source of drinking water for Shanghai, was safe. It also said that no diseased pork had been detected in markets.
However, the news has been met with scepticism by some users on weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent, where the hashtag “Huangpu River dead pigs” has emerged.
The state-run China News news agency said Monday that Zhejiang province had reported no swine epidemic but that a provincial agriculture official blamed cold weather for the deaths of the pigs.
“Cadres and officials, we are willing to provide for you, but please don’t let us die from poisoning. Otherwise who will serve you? Please think twice,” said netizen Shi Liqin.
“This river’s colour is about the same as excrement, even if there weren’t dead pigs you couldn’t drink it,” said another, with the username Yuzhou Duelist.
The official, who was identified only by his family name Gu, told China News that the practice of dumping dead pigs into rivers lingers among some pig farmers in the city of Jiaxing. “We are still introducing the practice of collecting dead pigs,” Gu was quoted as saying.
The government statement said that the number of pigs being salvaged from the river appeared to be decreasing. Laboratory tests have identified that some of the pigs had porcine circovirus, a common disease that affects pigs but does not affect humans.
Shanghai authorities have been pulling out the swollen and rotting pigs, some with their internal organs visible, since Friday — and revolting images of the carcasses in news reports and online blogs have raised public ire against local officials.
“This is not only an environmental issue but also a public moral problem,” Li wrote. “What’s been polluted is not only Shanghai’s river water but also the spirit of our country people.
Beijing-based writer Li Mingsheng expressed shock when he learned of the latest number of dead pigs in Shanghai. In an opinion piece, the state-run Global Times said that the pig scandal comes amid growing concerns about China’s environment, including recent record smog levels in Beijing, and water and air pollution affecting villages.