Would You Swim in This?

Would You Swim in This? (Image 1)

A businessman is so angry about a filthy river in his hometown that he made an equally dirty offer:  daring a local official $50,000 to swim in it.

Jim Zengmin of China has posted pictures of the garbage-filled river on his blog.

China's environment ministry has even admitted the area is home to 'cancer villages.' 

Zengmin claims that a rubber shoe factory has been dumping waste water into the river.

While government officials won't comment on the challenge, they have said they will take some measures…including working with residents to clean up trash in the river and putting up signs warning against dumping.

But many say this won't be enough.

Hu Siyi, vice minister of water resources, says that 20% of China's rivers are so polluted that their water quality was rated too toxic for human contact and that up to 40% of the rivers were seriously polluted.

Just last month alone, around nine tons of aniline (a chemical used to make polyurethane) leaked into a river in northern China.  And this leak wasn't even reported for five days.

Cancer is already China's biggest killer.  One in four residents die from the disease, following an 80% rise in the mortality rate from cancer over the past 30 years.

While the numbers are discouraging, some say at least the Chinese government is much more willing to be open about the pollution issue than it has been in the past.





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