By Shannon Najmabadi
Fancy a sip?
Contaminated red water in Cangxian county, Hebei province, which reportedly killed at least 700 chickens, has now led to the resignation of the county’s head of environmental protection, according to China Daily.
Since it was exposed on March 29, experts have been conducting tests on the red water – which has an unpleasant odour and is, you know… red. According to Xinhua a red tint began to show in shallow local groundwater as early as 2002.
Despite this, the county’s former head of environmental protection, Deng Lianjun, stated that the red color of the water did not mean it was unfit for drinking.
“The color does not mean the water is polluted. You know, after boiling with red beans the water has that color, too.”
Surprisingly, Deng’s flawless logic didn’t impress local residents:
His response to the pollution drew more criticism, forcing him to resign. The county government announced on Friday that they dismissed Deng as Party secretary of the bureau and suggested the Standing Committee of People’s Congress remove him as head of the bureau.
Despite Deng’s assurance that the water imposed no risk, Hebei Jianxin Chemicals has issued a public apology claiming full responsibility for the polluted water.
Though their Cangxian branch was closed after a sulfur trioxide leak in 2011, Hebei Jianxin Chemicals said that the residual materials caused the contamination of the water.
China Daily reports:
“We will remove the remaining manufacturing shop and equipment as soon as possible and follow the professional suggestions on environment modification,” the announcement from the company said on Friday, yet no detailed measures have been released.
Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said that Cangxian is not the only place where rivers are polluted by large steel or chemical companies. Since these companies contribute to government revenue, many are able to pollute without fear of punishment. Hence, the most effective way to reduce such pollution, Ma said, is to alter the law to make companies more accountable for the pollution they cause.