A journalist takes a sample of polluted water in the Jianghe River in Henan province. Photo: China Daily/Reuters
The Guardian reports that a Chinese official was offered nearly $30,00 to swim in a highly polluted river near the coastal city of Rui’an in Zhejiang province. The official declined the offer.
The report continues:
“China’s water pollution woes are not a new story. The head of China’s ministry of water resources said last year that up to 40% of the country’s rivers are “seriously polluted”, and an official report from last summer found that up to 200 million rural Chinese have no access to clean drinking water.”
Public concerns over China’s environment are compounded by lack of access to government data on the environment. According to Reuters, “When China’s environment ministry told attorney Dong Zhengwei he couldn’t have access to two-year old data about soil pollution because it was a “state secret”, it added to mounting public outrage over the worsening environment.”
To witness one photojournalist’s campaign to raise awareness of Beijing’s crisis of environmental waste, watch Wang Jiuliang’s Beijing Besieged by Waste.
Surreal footage of Chinese government officials who actually dared to swim a polluted river (with one official nearly drowning) can be found in Huang Weikai’s underground found footage masterwork Disorder.