Chinese river runs red with blood from slaughterhouse

Chinese river runs red with blood from slaughterhouse

I am by no means a religious person, but if I were to be walking to work in the morning and noticed a river of blood, I might give the bible a second look. It is such a ludicrous and terrifying sight to behold, I am sure I would be convinced of the oncoming apocalypse, taking time out of my day to hold up "the end is nigh" signs.

In a scene that sounds more appropriate in the halls of the Overlook Hotel from Stephen King's classic horror novel The Shining than any real life location, people caught glimpse of a river running red with blood this week. Occurring in the city of Jiujang in south-east China, terrified locals first noticed what had happened when they started to "smell blood".

Credit: The People's Daily Online

"The water looked normal at 10:00 am," a local told People's China Daily, "but suddenly turned red one hour later, and the water smelt of blood." The authorities were immediately contacted, and sent the officers from the Jiujang Environmental Bureau to help clear the river up and discover what exactly was causing the strange phenomenon.

The water started to turn red near where the Lianxi River passes the Jiujian College on the morning of September 12, as one student said: "The red coloured water is coming from a pipe under the bridge near our school". The Lianxi Environmental Bureau took samples from the river to investigate, and followed where the drainpipe led to. They eventually discovered that the colour was a result of a leak from a nearby slaughterhouse contaminating the water.

"There is a blockage near the slaughterhouse's sewage pipe," an office said in a video interview with The Beijing News, "the sewage can be seen bursting out into the river". The staff of the pig slaughterhouse, who were unaware of the problem, were notified and the issue was cleared up by the afternoon.

According to a spokesperson, the pig's blood had already been diluted and treated under the country's regulations, so there should be no health risks emerging from the situation. The discharge outlet of the sewage has been fixed by the maintenance workers, but it is unclear whether the slaughterhouse is facing any charges for the contamination.

In 2012, a similar event happened when the Yangtze River changed colour, but that time officials believed it to be a result of sand distribution. In 2014, a river in the Zhejiang province also turned blood red. Wenzhou's river perplexed Environmental officers, but the Bureau's chief Jianfeng Xiao told China News his theory:

"We suspect that somebody dumped artificial colouring in the water because they thought the typhoon yesterday would case heavy rain, and nobody would notice. It turned out there wasn't heavy rainfall yesterday, so the evidence is left behind." 

I'm not gonna lie, it's a little worrying that there wasn't a concrete reason found for that one. If I see a river of blood in my city, I'd want to know it had a rational cause as soon as possible, that's for sure.