Dead pigs add to China's environmental woes

Swine carcasses in a Shanghai river emphasize the crisis that's brewing, thanks to unbridled growth and paranoid leadership.

By Bruce Kennedy Mar 12, 2013 3:38PM

A dead pig floats in the Shaghai River on the outskirts of Shanghai, China on Monday (© AP)China has another environmental mess, with more possible long-term financial impact on that nation and the global economy.


Authorities in Shanghai are trying to determine who dumped over 3,000 dead pigs in the city's Huangpu River. A swine virus was reportedly discovered in one of the carcasses, but local officials say it's of no danger to humans and that the local water supply -- part of which comes from the river -- is safe for drinking.


Many Chinese are taking a cynical and wry look at the situation. Some online wag posted on a Chinese micro-blogging site that the pigs sacrificed themselves while taking a stand on the country's notorious air pollution or to protest the rampant use of antibiotics on livestock.


But the dead pigs are just the latest serious example of how China's overheated economy is sacrificing environmental, legal and safety controls for the sake of short-term profits.


China's authoritarian government is still hypersensitive about getting any scrutiny. Reuters recently reported about an attorney, Dong Zhengwei, who was banned from accessing years-old data about soil pollution because it was a "state secret."


But growing outrage over worsening air pollution in China, poor water quality, tainted produce and other health issues have given the public a chance to speak out.


"In other areas it is still dangerous," Gary Liu, a professor at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai told Reuters. "But pollution is a relatively safe area, because people have enough justification to fight against the government and they can easily get enough public support because everybody is in the same country, breathes the same air."


The Washington Post points to a new study by three Deutsche Bank economists, which says China is capable of implementing aggressive reforms that could ease its air pollution problems without damaging its economy. But as The Post reports, "most of China’s current attempts to curb pollution are failing badly -- the country is on pace for ever-higher levels of smog that could throttle the nation’s economy and trigger out-of-control protests."

Chinese officials are apparently getting the hint.


"Our country, in a very short time over the past 30 years, has achieved brilliant economic achievements," Xin Chunying, with the National People's Congress, told reporters over the weekend. "But at the same time, we have paid a heavy price with the environment. This price must stop, it has to be reduced, we must say 'no' to the status quo."


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Tags: Economy
11Comments
Mar 14, 2013 12:50AM
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Made in China is the harbinger of the world of the future. Low wage, no benefit jobs; no environmental control whatsoever, filth and disease prevailing. The new World Economy is lowering the US into the world of open sewers, sickening air pollution, rampant crime and that's only the good part. Anarchy, and a continuing barrier between the have's and have-not. Woe is us...The really sad part is that every one is aware but waiting for someone else to fix everything. I hope I die before I get old....
Mar 12, 2013 10:22PM
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This is exactly what forced us to outsource our jobs there. In the mind of capitalists, this is a win-win. They get the pollution, and we get the products, and the bonus is that they are willing to live on rice and tofu, and that keeps the labor costs down, making bigger profits for the shareholders. The bad news is, the EPA was right, and pollution is still pollution, no matter where it is. I hope that they don't find themselves in a biological war against their own environment. We still own the problem, even if it is in another country
Mar 15, 2013 10:14AM
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We exported pollution to China, India, and other Third and Fourth World nations because the capitalists felt it was too expensive to control pollution, and we are still continuing down that path. More good paying semi-skilled and unskilled jobs will continue to leave the US. Labor intensive jobs have left and will continue to relocate to low wage countries. The quality of the products have declined in many cases also, but that is the price you pay for low cost items. Virtually nothing sold in dollar stores can be manufactured competitively in the US. As long as our population increases faster than the economy can produce jobs, downward wage pressure will continue. Except for the extremely wealthy, almost everyone's standard of living will decay brcause most people will be underemployed. An economy can't survive when most of the workforce is employed in the services sector. If your job isn't bringing revenue into your company or government agency, you are at risk of being downsized to reduce costs and improve profits. The bottom line is the human herd is destroying the planet, and the US is the leading culprit because we, on a per capita basis, are the largest consumers of the world's resources. We are directly causing the pollution related environmental issues around the world.
Mar 13, 2013 10:41PM
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Why ain't AL Sharpton over there protesting and blaming some white dude!!!   Come on now AL  ..you aint done nothin' since you had your stomach stapled
Mar 14, 2013 5:21PM
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When one reads an article like this he/she first assumes that it's a Chinese problem, but it isn't because polution, especially of the air and the sea, (and the river of pigs runs to the sea) is a world problem.  It would be wonderful if countries that polluted their air would be forced to keep that air within the confines of their borders so only they would be subject to it's poisonous effects then they might take more aggressive response to cleaning up their enviornment. 

Mar 13, 2013 10:39PM
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Guiness World Record for largest bowl of PORK CHOP SUEY!!!!!
Mar 14, 2013 3:49PM
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guess you can't use pig hides for anything. just those from cats and dogs and while they're still alive(PETA) . I think they're up to something.
Mar 13, 2013 10:40PM
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mmmmm Pork SUSHI      ...China is just one-upping those tuna eating japs!!!!!
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