Children attending the Chhangzhou Foreign Languages School north of Shanghai have been poisoned by a cocktail of toxic chemicals. Students and staff moved to a new campus in September 2015. Recently 641 of the students were examined by physicians. 493 were recommended for medical treatment.
Some of the students were suffering from fairly mild ailments like eczema and bronchitis, but others were sick with lymphoma and leukemia.
It has been established that the new campus was built on what is called a “brownfield” site, one that is known to have had some chemical pollution but is not heavily poisoned. The site was formerly occupied by three chemical factories, now closed. A former factory worker admitted that the factory that he worked at dumped toxic waste into the local river and buried other poisons.
Investigations into the site have shown that chlorobenzene is present at a level about 100 000(yes it is one hundred thousand) times greater than what is considered safe. It is known to damage liver, kidney and nervous system. In addition it is a carcinogen. In addition, high levels of carbofurans, methomyl(pesticide), carbon tetrachloride, mercury, lead and cadmium have been found on the site.
Professors specializing in environmental issues told CCTV the environmental assessment report that justified the construction of the new campus did not look for pesticides. And they said that builders had used heavily polluted groundwater during the construction process. China Daily
Already it seems that the official news sites are downplaying the seriousness of the incident. A quick check of the Xinhhua news site yielded a “cannot connect” result.
China is in trouble after years of flagrant pollution by factories. The Chinese environmental minister revealed last week that 80% of their ground water, including shallow and artesian wells, is unfit for human consumption.
But when rainfall drops, Titicaca is no longer able to counteract the evaporation rate which has increased. An average of one degree Celsius increase over temperatures in 1995 has hastened evaporation.
Bolivia’s largest lake is also fighting for survival. A combination of sewage from over two million people and industrial wastes has turned Titicaca into a virtual cesspool.
The problem of water body survival is not limited to Bolivia. Many areas around the world have seen fresh water polluted by careless disposal of sewage and laissez faire attitudes towards resource extraction.
This is in an area of the US that is very arid. Agriculture depends heavily on irrigation. The headgates have had to been shut in order to not contaminate the fields. Farmers have been forced to pray for rainfall. Rangers have been advised to keep livestock away from the river.
Of course river systems eventually flow into other rivers and then empty into the oceans and this is no exception. Eventually the contamination will spread into the beleaguered Colorado River.
The EPA has been cleaning up numerous abandoned mine sites in the area that have been leaking toxic runoff into local waterways. The Gold King Mine is currently leaking about 550 gallons per minute into the environment, down from over 700 gal/min on Friday.
Social media has a lot to say about the incident. Many are angry and refuse to call it an accident but rather gross mismanagement. Whatever it is eventually called, it will be the people along the river system who will be the ones to pay for the contamination.
Periodically campaigns are run to clean up the shoreline mess. To date over $1 billion has been spent with no appreciable difference in the pollution.
Rio has hired a Dutch firm to help them with their problem, but the Dutch firm is only tracking water currents and predicting where the worst pollution will be. No one yet seems tasked with actually picking up the floating or shoreline refuse.
It’s not just the sailors who will be exposed to the crud. Swimmers in Copacabana waters will be exposed to a nasty brew of bacteria.
"In the waters just off Copacabana beach, the measurement of fecal coliform bacteria spiked to 16 times the Brazilian government's satisfactory level as recently as three weeks ago, bad news for the marathon swimmers and triathletes set to compete there," the AP noted in November.
Elite athletes give up much to become Olympians, their health shouldn’t be one of those things.
Some nasties they can expect to encounter: hepatitis, worms, diarrhea, tetanus, leptospirosis.
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