The nightmare of dead-pig dumping in waterways near Shanghai has returned to haunt China's river inhabitants, despite government vows to crack down on the practice.
In the months since authorities fished out more than 10,000 dead pigs from Huangpu River and its tributaries in March, farmers still appear to be disposing of the carcasses the same way. Internet searches for "dead pig" and "river" have resulted in media reports of similar incidents every month since the first stories made international headlines, sparked public outcry and prompted water safety concerns.
"Over 70 dead swine salvaged from Hunan Liuyang river", the headlines say.
"Dozens of dead pigs floating in Chengdu — odours overwhelm passersby”
"Ten rotten pigs in Hebei may have been dumped by vendors"
The latest story came on Saturday, when photos were published by China International Broadcasting Network showing dozens of rotten pig carcasses floating in waterways in central China's Wuhan province.
Government officials and media blamed pig farmers and sellers for dumping the carcasses in the rivers because it costs much less than burying or incinerating them.
But some experts have attributed the dumping practice to rigorous crackdowns on black-market pork dealings earlier this year. Authorities have clamped down on peddlers who buy dead pigs and sell them illicitly.
The government has also sought to dispel public concerns about the pollution of the rivers, often the source of drinking water for cities.
An agricultural expert compared the plight to “a few flies in a swimming pool”, reported the Beijing News. “Disgusting? Maybe. But how much of an impact will it really inflict on the water quality?” he said.
Some local residents, however, have found an unexpected fortune in salvaging dead pigs from rivers. Villagers in Jiaxing who used to earn 30 yuan a day fishing, now make as much as 150 yuan (HK$190) a day picking carcasses from the water.