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Nearly 3,000 dead pigs found in river supplying Shanghai’s drinking water

Shanghai, Mar 11 (): Nearly 3,000 dead pigs have been found floating in the upper reaches of Shanghai’s Huangpu River, the Chinese city’s government said on Monday as the residents expressed fears over possible contamination of drinking water.

The decomposing pigs have reportedly been pulled from the river – a source of drinking water for some of the 23 million inhabitants of the mega city. Shanghai authorities have appealed for calm as the retrieved pigs would be collected and handled in a harmless way.

Xu Rong, director of Shanghai Songjiang District Environmental Protection Bureau, was quoted as saying the carcasses were perhaps dumped in the Huangpu river in Zhejiang province and the total number was expected to increase.

She has said that the officials have to act quickly to remove them all for fear of causing water pollution. In the meantime, the authorities are investigating where the pigs came from.

The statement on the city’s Agriculture Committee’s website posted Saturday says they have not found any evidence that the pigs were dumped into the river or of any animal epidemic. One industry expert said the mass deaths indicated an outbreak, likely on a single farm.

On Monday, the authorities have announced that they had detected traces of porcine circovirus, a disease that affects pigs but which is not believed to infect humans, in the river.

The latest shock in China is the discovery of the dead pigs and the government has come under criticism for its handling of health and environmental issues. The issue made the rounds in social media very quickly, with many bloggers criticizing the authorities for their delayed response.

One blogger has stated, “Related government departments should seriously investigate this and get to the bottom of it. The government should pay attention to the lives of people and take no time to solve food safety issues.”