A river in China mysteriously turned blood-red in under an hour Thursday, leaving nearby residents frightened and disturbed at the reddened waters coursing by their small homes. The waterway in the eastern China province of Zhejiang looked normal at 5 a.m. last week, but within an hour, the entire river became a bright red hue and started to give off an acrid odor.
Villagers in Xinmeizhou village reported the incident to the Wenzhou Environmental Protection Bureau, who took water samples and is investigating the cause. Although no official word has been released, media reports indicated that it appears the suspicious color may be the result of illegal dumping by a food-coloring company upriver.
The red river brings to mind the first plague brought against the Egyptians by God, who turned the Nile and all the waters of Egypt into blood, bringing disgrace to the Nile-god Hapi. Each of the Ten Plagues delivered through Moses to Pharaoh humiliated one of Egypt’s many gods in their polytheistic society.
It appears that the deliberate pollution of the river in China was done to coincide with anticipated rainwaters that would have concealed the contamination.
“We suspect that somebody dumped artificial coloring in the water because he thought the typhoon yesterday would cause heavy rain, and nobody would notice [the color],” said bureau chief Jianfeng Xiao.“It turned out there wasn’t heavy rainfall yesterday, so the evidence is left behind.”
Water pollution is a common problem in China. According to the Epoch Times, a report from Northern China’s Hebei Province concluded that over 17 million residents of China consume unsafe and polluted water every day.
In March of last year, over 16,000 dead pigs were pulled from China’s Huangpu River, which supplies the city of Shanghai with a portion of its potable water. The rotting pigs were dumped by farmers and were found to be infected with a virus.
An article in April from RT.com said that “at least 60 percent of China’s underground water resources have ‘very poor’ or ‘relatively poor’ quality, which means these water can’t be used for drinking directly… showing a deep environmental crisis in the country.”
This latest incident underscores the careless treatment of China’s dwindling resources.