A town of 50,000 people in China’s export hub has warned residents not to drink tap water after finding manganese contamination, local media said, the latest in a string of mass heavy metal poisonings to hit industrial areas.
There was a rush on plastic buckets in the largely rural area of southern Guangdong Province, as residents turned to mountain springs for water instead, the Southern Metropolis Daily said.
Manganese levels in tap water from Daan water company, one of the only two water providers in the mountainous area, are 12 times safe limits, the paper said.
“As water quality cannot meet standards, please stop drinking the tap water,” the newspaper cited a government announcement posted in the town as saying, but added that water had not been cut off.
Manganese poisoning affects the nervous system, and can cause slow responses and behavioral change.
Officials are perplexed by the contamination, discovered during checks by epidemic prevention officials, the report said.
There are no manganese mines or processing companies near Luohe, the source of Daan’s water, the newspaper said, and no record of manganese poisoning there in recent decades. An investigation has not yet thrown any light on the issue.
The report did not say why the initial checks were made and reporters’ calls to town offices went unanswered yesterday.
The other local water works, which shares the same water source with Daan company, is now being tested, but the result has not been published, senior town official Huang Zhenhu said.
“If water there also have quality problems, we may need support from water works from big cities nearby,” he told the newspaper.
Daan residents are unsure when running water will return, and in the meantime worry that the heavy reliance on springs could dry them up and leave no water supply at all, the report said.
Meanwhile, the number of people killed or missing in devastating floods across China so far this year has risen to nearly 1,700, the government said yesterday.
“So far this year, 140 million people have been impacted in 28 flood-hit provinces, 1,072 have been killed and 619 people are missing,” Shu Qingpeng, spokesman for China’s flood control headquarters, said in an online briefing.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
SURGE CONTINUES: India recorded its steepest spike of more than 57,000 new virus cases in 24 hours, as Vietnam went from no virus deaths to reporting three South Korean prosecutors yesterday arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s COVID-19 response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March. Prosecutors in the central city of Suwon have been questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, over charges that the church hid some members and underreported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines. The Suwon District Court granted prosecutors’ request to arrest Lee over concerns that he could temper with evidence. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they are