Toxic China: Heavy metal cadmium openly dumped into rivers by mining companies

Monday, February 06, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: China, cadmium, mining companies

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(NaturalNews) China is not exactly the poster child of environmental friendliness, and this was further exemplified this past week when authorities discovered that at least one mining company has been openly discharging toxic cadmium into two major rivers in the southern Guangxi region of the country. Reports indicate that long stretches of the Longjiang River were found to contain high levels of the cancer-causing toxin, which prompted officials to warn nearly three million people to stop drinking water directly from the river.

The contamination was first discovered after local residents began to observe mass die-offs of fish in some sections of the river beginning around mid-January. Upon investigation, it was revealed that both the Guangxi Jinhe Mining Co. and the Jinchengjiang Hongquan Lithopone Material Co. had been openly discharging cadmium into the river, the water of which is used by millions of people as drinking water.

Elevated levels of cadmium were reportedly detected as far south as Liuzhou, which is more than 130 kilometers, or more than 80 miles, downstream from the Guangxi Jinhe Mining Co. facility. However, Gan Jinglin, Liuzhou's environmental chief, reportedly announced that the water "met national standards" and was not unsafe to drink.

Meanwhile, the regional government fired seven officials in Hechi, an area in Guangxi where cadmium was discovered, and punished two others for failing to properly protect local residents. Many area residents have reported illness symptoms following the spill, and local fisherman have suffered drastic economic setbacks as a result of the tainted water.

But at least the Chinese government took action to discipline and fire those that allowed such a tragedy to take place under their watch, which is a lot more than can be said for the many similar environmental disasters that have taken place in the U.S. Pharmaceutical companies, for instance, have been caught openly dumping drug pollutants into American rivers and waterways, and as far as we know, no drug company executives or politicians have been reprimanded or fired for allowing or contributing to such environmental abuse (

Similarly, natural gas mining companies reportedly openly dump their toxic waste into waterways without consequence as well. A report compiled last year found that nearly a million-and-a-half barrels of toxic mining waste go unaccounted for in the U.S. every single year, and little to nothing is being done to fix this problem (

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