The murky green Dasha River has been dirty for decades, polluted by coal mines and steel mills that make it fit only for watering livestock and crops downstream.
Then a truck overturned on a windy, mountain road this month, dumping at least 60 tons of potentially carcinogenic coal tar into the water. That spill killed off the Dasha’s remaining small fish, shrimp and frogs; stressed an already hard-pressed ecosystem; and incensed locals.
“No one died from the pollution, but our livelihoods are being threatened,” farmer Li Si said, standing above the river in Zhong’ershi village, three miles downriver from the accident. [Full text]
UPDATE: To read how villagers are fighting against rampant pollution, see “Chinese villages, poisoned by toxins, battle for justice” from the Christian Science Monitor:
The story of Leifeng and Puxing, some 100 miles west of Siberia, is a protracted saga of environmental abuse, family tragedy, official neglect – and a determination to fight within the system for change.
The villagers’ desperation for a resolution to their plight is not unique. Along with its overheated economic growth, China has developed vast environmental problems. Even as spoiled air, water, and soil have degraded the environment across the country, they have often caused illnesses. Serious protests have often followed: The countryside saw nearly 90,000 uprisings last year, the government says, and 50,000 were related to pollution.