Pollution poisons Guangxi villagers

More than a hundred villagers in southern China have been poisoned after drinking water apparently contaminated by arsenic from industrial waste, the Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Quoting the Xinhua report, the Associated Press said 136 residents of
two Hechi city villages in Guangxi region began to show a variety of
symptoms — including swelling in the face and eyes, vomiting and
blurred eyesight – last week. Excessive amounts of arsenic were found
in their urine. Xinhua said the poisoning was not serious and the
villagers would recover with immediate treatment. Safe drinking water
was being transported to the area.

The contaminated water is believed to come from a metallurgy company
that had discharged water rich in arsenic before 2005. Then, the water
seeped underground and tainted a local pond, Xinhua said, citing a
government investigation.

China’s rapid economic growth has brought with it a surge in heavily
polluting industries. The country’s leadership recently has become
more sensitive to the environmental costs of the economic boom.

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