Oil Contaminates Drinking Water in Foshan

About 100,000 people in the southern China manufacturing base Foshan went without water for six hours this weekend after an oil slick contaminated its local river, threatening nearby cities as well. Terra Daily reports:

Local environment officials said that the water was now safe to drink after the oil pollution scare forced restaurants and businesses to close and sparked a surge in bottled water sales…

“Tests show the water is safe to drink, but we will keep on monitoring the water quality of the river,” said an official surnamed Li with the city’s publicity department, according to Xinhua.

No information was given as to how the oil slick emerged on the river, with Xinhua saying that environmental authorities had launched an investigation…

Nanfang Daily, a local newspaper in Guangdong, said on Sunday that Heshan city, to the south of Foshan, may now be at risk from the slick.

The spill marks the second major water pollution report this year from Guangdong Province, where 50,000 residents of Kaiping City had their water supply cut off in January.

Only days after the spill, a national survey released Monday by the Ministry of Health and the National Committee for the Patriotic Public Health Campaign reported that 44.36 percent of drinking water in rural China falls below government standards.

According to Xinhua:

“Most people living in rural areas do not have their drinking water sterilized. Often they just drink the well water, which may have been polluted,” the spokesman said.

Sanitation was somewhat better in more densely populated areas, with 85.23 percent of people living in villages or counties often having their water boiled before drinking.

February 19, 2008 8:28 AM
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Categories: Environment, Sci-Tech