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Residents baffled after river in China turns blood-red in an hour

Rescuers evacuate residents from flood-hit areas after typhoon Fitow made landfall on October 7, 2013 in Wenzhou, China.
Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

It may look like a scene from the “Ten Commandments,” but experts doubt that the “Hand of God” is responsible for the Nanxi River in the Zhejiang province of China turning blood red in an hour.

“The really weird thing is that we have been able to catch fish because the water is normally so clear,” one local villager commented on China’s microblogging site Weibo after residents woke up to find that the waterway had turned crimson between 5am and 6am. There were also reports of a “strange odor” in the air.

Residents in Zhejiang province said the river looked normal at 5 a.m. Beijing time on Thursday morning. Within an hour, the entire river turned crimson. Locals also said a strange smell wafted through the air. While inspectors from the Wenzhou Environmental Protection Bureau have yet to find the cause, samples taken from the river seem to indicate that someone illegally dumped chemicals into it, possibly from either a local food-coloring company, or Alunite (a non-metallic mineral used to make alum and fertilizer processing plant. In fact Wenzhou is considered to be the “Alunite Capital of the World.” The area also has a paper manufacturing facility and is home to 10 main industries including leather products, general equipment and electrical machinery, plastic plastic manufacturing, textile and garment manufacturing, transport equipment, and chemical products worth more than $1.5 billion.

“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. It turned out there wasn’t heavy rainfall yesterday, so the evidence is left behind,” Jianfeng Xiao, Chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau stated to the China News

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