Hunan residents boycott water supply

Water contamination is the reason why people in the town of Changsou live on bottled water and have been boycotting government supplied water for several years!

China, CHANGSHOU— Residents have refused to drink, bathe, cook or clean with tap water in the town of Changshou, Pingjiang county in Hunan province, for several years despite assurances that water quality tests have shown no contamination.

The approximately 20,000 people believe an upstream gold mine is polluting their water supply, and have chosen to purchase mountain spring water over tap supplies, according to China’s People’s Daily.

 One resident was quoted as saying that everyone knew not to consume the groundwater, because it is polluted, according to the state news outlet.

However, Changshou water officials denied claims of water contamination, saying they have repeatedly tested the water and it meets national quality standards.

 Wu Jinan, deputy director of the Pingjiang Environmental Protection Bureau, said the town’s water supply comes from the Miluo River, which used to be the site of many small businesses.

 “By 2008, almost all small industrial businesses have been shut down and only one gold mine is still in operation. But they have met all pollution and emissions standards,” the state newspaper quoted Wu as saying.

 The town’s mayor, Yin Youxiang, said he drinks tap water, but that many just prefer the taste of spring water.

 However, He Peiyu of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, blamed the people’s fears on lack of trust in and poor communication with the government.

 “People are not convinced, and there are no news channels between officials and the people. The government needs to actively work on reconstructing its own credibility problems, clarify its intentions and identify counter-measures,” the state newspaper quoted him as saying.

 There have been numerous accounts recently of China’s immense water pollution problems. Recent reports have found that nearly 70 percent of the nation’s surface water and more than 90 percent of its urban groundwater is too contaminated for consumption.

There have been several cases of water pollution in Hunan province over the last few years. In 2011, an oil spill on the Zijang River caused Yiyang municipal government officials to cut tap water supplies for several days until tests conducted every half an hour showed that the water source met quality standards.

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And in 2008, officials in Chenxi County advised its citizens to refrain from consuming tap water temporarily, due to a leak from a local chemical plant.

 Reports from local hospitals said hundreds of people had been hospitalized with poisoning symptoms including a swollen face, itchy skin, nausea, vomiting and paralysis. From the symptoms shown, including nausea and respiratory problems, hospital staff suspect sulphuric acid poisoning.

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Posted by on March 22, 2013. Filed under China. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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