Hazardous Water Pollution in China

The people of the Sahecun village in China are currently suffering severe health problems due to dangerously hazardous water. The water pollution has been caused by heavy metal, which is a result of a lead mine that closed down more than ten years ago. Villagers of Sahecun are experiencing dreadfully painful swellings all over their bodies. The heavily polluted water is also causing all kinds of other health problems, including achy bones.

Nine years ago, the Chinese government conducted a series of tests. These tests confirmed the soaring rates of poisonous metals in soil and water. They decided a clean up operation was necessary, however the operation was stopped shortly after resulting in the area remaining contaminated. This has proven to be a very big problem for the villagers, one Hyang Guiqiang says he can no longer work due to the swellings caused by the polluted water.

Guiqiang explained how he “noticed symptoms at the turn of the century”. He said he felt “weak and listless”, resulting in him being unable to return to work. He described the lumps on his body as “incredibly painful”, and there are times where he “can’t feel anything at all”. He has had help with the expense to go to the hospital in a nearby city, where he was diagnosed with severe cadmium poisoning, which is as serious as it sounds. Cadmium is a toxic metal, which has a destructive impact on most of the human body’s systems if high levels are ingested.

Guiqiang’s older brother Hung Fuqlang has developed swellings so bad, they have left him confined to his bed. The pair’s older brother died last year, after spending 10 years bedridden.

Some of the villagers breed fish. They will continue to do so, however the fish will grow up contaminated because of the poor water quality. According to Guiqiang, they don’t have much choice, because if they don’t breed fish, they “won’t have anything to eat”.

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