A cadmium spill in the Liu River of southern China has police and emergency personnel scrambling to clean and protect the water supply of a major city in its path. Despite three previous clean up efforts, the contaminated water is still flowing toward Liuzhou city in Guangxi province, which is inhabited by over 3 million people. While chemicals and barges are being thrown into the water daily to prevent the cadmium spill from spreading, residents are already buying out all the bottled water local stores have to offer.
Image © steven buss
Cadmium is a well-known carcinogen that can severely damage the lungs and kidneys. Emergency workers are dumping hundreds of tons of polyaluminum chloride and caustic soda into the affected water in an attempt to clump up the cadmium and fish it out. At Nuomintan dam, just over 35 miles upstream, cadmium traces are eight times above safe levels. Officials are waiting to turn off water taps, and they are prepared to provide bottled water if and when the action is necessary.
There is no word on the official source of the cadmium spill, but many are pointing fingers at the six metal companies and one mine upriver that have only recently been shut down.
Via The Guardian
lead image by Wikimedia Commons