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River Dyed Red Then Blue By Printing Firm

River Dyed Red Then Blue By Printing Firm

If it was nature that changed the river it would be a thing of beauty, but man-made chemicals lie at the heart of this kaleidoscope of colour.

In Liwu village in Guangdong province in south-eastern China an unscrupulous printing works tried to discharge polluted water into a swollen river next to the plant.

But bosses had not counted on the dyes of the printing ink remaining as strong as they did, and when they saw the river had turned bright red, they foolishly tried to die it back again by using a blue die.

"They thought that it would disperse quickly in the swift waters of the river but they were mistaken," said a spokesperson for the police, who moved in to shut the plant down after the vivid reds and then the blues changed the colour of the water for miles around.

"The boss thought he could take advantage of the heavy rain to discharge the polluted water and then no people would know the source of the pollution," added the police officer.

The printing ink has been proved to be highly toxic and there are fears of mass poisoning of fish, frogs and wildfowl that inhabit the river.

Local fisherman Wang Zhingdao, 56, said: "When I arrived on the morning after the discharge I couldn't believe my eyes. I thought nature must have conjured up some magic. But then I saw fish floating on the surface and a strange acetone smell in the air.

"I am told they tried to dump the red die, and when they saw how vivid the colour was, they had tried to die the river back again by using blue, but it looked even more unnatural.

"Now we have been told we cannot fish for a month while tests are carried out. So my family will have to go hungry because of the greed of managers at this plant. I hope they go to jail."

Locals say the bosses of the factory wanted to save thousands on costly treatments to neutralise the dyes before they can be released into the water. Now they face multiple charges of despoiling the environment.

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