Two hundred thousand Chinese in Hubei, Central China, were without water for the last week of February thanks to a toxic spill from an unknown source. The water in the river turned red and bubbly, due to high levels of permanganate, ammonia and other nitrates. Towns without emergency water supplies had to rely on bottled water, schools and businesses were shut. Irraigation gates were closed to isolate the spill and water from a nearby lake used to dilute the toxins. Major pollution events occur with nightmarish regularity on Chinese rivers. The same river was closed last September due to a spill from a nearby paper factory.
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