On Monday, a day before the beginning of the national holiday, a stream in Huizhou city, Guangdong province, turned a brilliant scarlet red. The water was pouring out of a sewer drain near some small neighborhood offices. Does the river run red with the blood of the revolution (like the PRC’s national flag), or the scarlet of printer ink?
A group of friends living around the offices on a street called Xiaojinkou were the first to report the red waters running through their neighborhood. Police investigations uncovered the obvious, an illegal workshop is responsible for the change in color.
Taking advantage of the Golden Week holiday, the workshop bosses cannot be located by police for questioning. Testing at the local environmental department is out for the moment as well, since laboratories are empty due to the 7-day national break.
Before the national holiday, the city environmental department said it will be quick to file charges against the suspect, the workshop owner named Zhu Moumou. Though maybe he could claim the crime was an act of nationalism, and the red river a patriotic work of art. A creative lawyer might be able to reduce the penalty for the workshop owner.
The city environmental department said it had entrusted the job of treating the contamination during the holiday period to a company which specializes in the disposal of solutions containing heavy metals and septic tank waste water. The red river water will be disposed of at a local sewage plant in Guangdong province.
Local governments should be well versed in this kind of crisis management since it happens in China more often than it should. Earlier this year in April, a whole canal in Shenzhen turned blood red and other disasters like this have been compared to biblical plagues.
by Daniel Cunningham
[Images via NetEase]