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.
Australian scientists have raised questions over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in establishing herd immunity, calling for a pause on its widespread rollout as the country recorded one new case of the virus yesterday. Opposition to the vaccine casts a cloud over Australia’s immunization plans, with 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab already on hand. “The question is really whether it is able to provide herd immunity. We are playing a long game here. We don’t know how long that will take,” Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology president Stephen Turner said. Turner added
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000km Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird yesterday said he discovered that the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 last year had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on Oct. 29. Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe — after US president-elect Joe Biden — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention
China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China said in a report on Thursday. The bipartisan commission said that new evidence had last year emerged that “crimes against humanity — and possibly genocide — are occurring” in Xinjiang. It also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the US. China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, which others have called concentration camps. The UN says that
The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong. Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review. Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client