Ok the article and how it is trying to trick you:
First, the river supplies 80% of water to Shanghai...if the treated water sin't safe to drink, lots of dead citizens isn't really an interest of the government. It is true, the raw water quality is a problem that China has been addressing for a while.
"Filtration systems might be able to handle a normal load of filth in the water of the Huangpu River, but 6,000 dead swine may be pushing it, Julian Fyfe, a water quality research consultant at the University of Technology Sydney"
Ok..so it's "pushing it", what does that even mean? Are just a few bacteria getting through? They can just *almost* afford the extra capacity needed
""If they are chlorinating heavily, which a lot of places may do, especially if they’ve got a very polluted water body to start with, then the effects could potentially be small,” Fyfe said."
Oh ok, so if they do something that lots of other people do, everything could be fine. Note, the article doesn't seem to state *what* exactly the muncipal water treatment plants in SHanghai do. Either it's borderline or just fine....informative.
"Putrefying pigs produce a wide variety of noxious and toxic chemicals. Aptly-named putrescine and cadaverine are two foul-smelling and toxic byproducts of decomposing flesh. Ammonia is also released, as is highly-toxic hydrogen sulfide gas. Considering the Huangpu flows through downtown Shanghai, the gas problem may pose health concerns as well."
Noxious and toxic are two different things, why jumble them together? Puterscine and cadaverine..ok..but *how much* is in the water? Does it get past the activated charcoal used in treatment?
"highly-toxic hydrogen sulfide gas"
This is what sinks the credibility of the whole article. Hydrogen sulfide is what makes farts smell (mostly), we are very sensitive to even small amounts of it. I think you would gag on the smell before you could drink enough water. Smell the water that people drink and take showers with in Iceland. Don't believe me? Ask the WHO:
"Although oral toxicity data are lacking, it is unlikely that anyone could consume a harmful dose of hydrogen sulfide in drinking-water"
I can't imagine that even 6000 rotting carcasses could emit enough gas to poison anyone in the open air, toxic gas exposures are generally in the context of confined spaces.
"In addition to the byproducts of putrefaction, the pigs have added in their own disease to the filthy broth of the Huangpu. Xinhua news agency reported finding porcine circovirus in the river’s water. The virus isn’t known to cause disease in humans, according to the World Health Organization."
Ok, so good thing that this is a not a health threat (again, the concentration isn't noted).
"Drinking straight from the Huangpu river could potentially be deadly, even without the thousands of pigs. Shanghai dumps millions of tons of sewage into the Huangpu every year."
Ah, you can't be wrong here since drinking water from your top *could* be deadly (you could choke on it, for instance). I wouldn't want to drink water that has lots of untreated sewage flowing into it, not safe, but not deadly either (there are fish living in it after-all).
The article doesn't conclude with any statement on the safety of the treated water (a process that does a good job of dealing with all of this kind of thing every day).
I see all of this undeserved distrust towards the Chinese safety workers. Recall it is the Chinese government that discovered the melamine fiasco (and carried out executions as a result). The safety of the Shanghai water could easily be tested by labs outside the government (or outside China) by simply taking samples from the tap. If the government is lying, why would they tell a lie that could be so easily exposed?
Unless you are pointing out a specific concern with the water that hasn't been tested by a reputable agency, to not believe the results of a straightforward test (that could easily be replicated and validated) is to live in the same crazy conspiracy world that Alex Jones lives in. Examine your motives behind the knee-jerk "OH CHINA THEY COPY THINGS AND I DON'T TRUST THEM" response.
The truth of the matter can get muddled behind the environmental emotionalism. Look at the Erin Brokovich case...everyone thinks that the chromium caused cancer in Hinkley, similarly for Love Canal. To date, no one has shown that those communities did indeed suffer higher incidences of cancer than the larger populations they belong to.