Chinese River Runs Red

A river in China is so polluted that it actually runs red.


Household and industrial waste have so polluted the Futuo River in the Hebei region of China that there are chronic illnesses among the villagers who live near the river. The plants near the river are also affected by the pollution. Sweet potatoes and soy beans grown near the river are tough and do not soften when cooked. Peanut oil produced from locally grown nuts has a bad smell.

The Futuo river was once known as a prime boating and fishing river. Now it flows reddish brown, with white foam floating inches thick on the top of the water. An October 30 report on the river said: “The river looked like a white boa constrictor slithering into Anping County.”

Several diseases, including circulatory diseases, are common. The wastewater from dye, paper, soap, and leather factories is credited with the horrific condition of the water. Recent tests showed much higher levels of pollutants than China allows.

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