China’s Urban Sludge Dilemma

Caixin’s Cui Zheng and Liu Zhiyi report on illegal dumping of chemical, bacteria and parasite-laden sludge from sewage plants around China:

Promptly at noon on March 17, a heavy truck hauling a dark substance and on a dark mission pulled out of the Gaobeidian Wastewater Treatment Plant in eastern .

A wastewater treatment engineer helped a Caixin reporter identify the unusual load, which jiggled in the truck’s bed like gelatin as the driver headed down a bumpy road.

The substance was unprocessed sludge – a mucky, smelly and hazardous byproduct of the treatment process. Anything less disgusting coming out of the Gaobeidian plant, the engineer said, would not have jiggled.

[…] Where do truckers take these gooey loads of organic materials, bacteria, heavy metals and micro-organisms? A Caixin investigation found sludge from Gaobeidian has been hauled two hours away to a Hebei Province farming area and renamed “fertilizer” before being dumped on fields where corn and watermelons are grown. [Source]

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