Duck farms in central China are said to have dumped excrement and other horrors into nearby rivers, leading to a large scale diarrhea outbreak. (File Photo/Wang,Xiao-ling)
The sudden appearance of more than 100,000 cases of diarrhea is believed to be linked to a contaminated river into which a duck meat processor in central China has been directly dumping duck excrement and dead animals.
Duck farms scattered along the Xiaohuang River in Huangchuan County, Henan Province, were accused of discharging waste into the river, killing fish and polluting the water. The farms belong to Henan Huaying Agricultural Development Co Ltd, reported the Shanghai Daily.
The local water utility stopped collecting water from the river four years ago as it was too polluted to drink safely.
However, two reservoirs that provide daily drinking water have dried up in this year's droughts, which have shut down many agricultural areas in central China. The county government was therefore forced to resume pumping water from the Xiaohuang in April, thought to be the cause the severe outbreak of the outbreak, which has affected more than 100,000 villagers.
Three rusted pipes were seen haphazardly stuck into the muddy river, complete with floating bottles and disposable lunch boxes, to collect tap water and supply it 280,000 residents.
An unnamed insider told the newspaper that pollutants are continually dropped into the river.
Nevertheless, the county government downplayed the outbreak and claimed that only 294 people had developed symptoms, caused by hot and humid weather, dirty food and aging facilities at the water utility. Experts of the Henan Health Department also said after their investigation that the major cause of the diarrhea was the inferior tap water.
While local officials denied links between the diarrhea outbreak and tap water quality, local government agencies, including the county government and environmental protection authority, only drank well water dug from about 112 meters underground.
A worker at the water utility told the newspaper the cost of processing water from the Xiaohuang River was too high to make profit.