madpen's journal

Visiting the Wuli “Cancer Village” featured in The Atlantic

At the Wuli Village sign with our Qiantang River Waterkeeper

At the Wuli Village sign with our Qiantang River Waterkeeper

Today, along with Qiantang River Waterkeeper, Donna and I visited Wuli Village, the “cancer village” featured in many of The Atlantic’s ‘China’s Toxic Water’ photo essay on March 22nd. We examined one of the major waterways, the Xian Feng (Pioneer) Canal, that runs from the Qiantang River through Wuli and eventually back into the Qiantang. We traced the canal using GPS to look for pollution sources and interviewed a chef who works for a coal power plant in the village. He confirmed that quite a few villagers have gotten severely ill, many with cancer and leukemia. Most people cannot afford to get produce grown outside of the village so they must eat food grown with the polluted water. Mr. Yun said his health has been good and that the coal plant pays for his health check-ups every year. But he doubted it was for his own benefit: they just didn’t want him getting other people sick through his cooking.

Interviewing the coal-fired power plant chef

Interviewing the coal-fired power plant chef

Aside from the coal-fired power plant, the Xian Feng Canal is surrounded by chemical plants, dye factories, cement plants, coal-fired textile factories, paper mills, and at least one hog CAFO (with a dead pig at the front gate) – all largely under-regulated. The water in the canal is brown at the beginning and black by the end, and the smell, a witch’s brew of toxic chemicals and industrial waste, can be smelled in the classrooms of several preschools and an elementary school that sit near its banks. See the pictures below for a closer look…

It's not just black on the surface...

It’s not just black on the surface…

The Xian Feng Canal running black

The Xian Feng Canal running black

Using tech to zero in on the pollution

Using tech to zero in on the pollution

Checking a suspected pollution discharge area

Checking a suspected pollution discharge area

Qiantang River Waterkeeper member Shentu Jun

Qiantang River Waterkeeper member Shentu Jun

Representing WKA

Representing WKA

 

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3 comments on “Visiting the Wuli “Cancer Village” featured in The Atlantic

  1. Pingback: The Beautiful Poisoned Children of China

  2. Pingback: Forbidden News » The Beautiful Poisoned Children of China

  3. Pingback: Banoosh » » The Beautiful Poisoned Children of China

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2013 by in Nature, Non-Fiction, Photogrpahy, Prose, Travel.
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