By Alex Perry, Ishaan Tharoor, Andrew Katz, and Charlie Campbell, TIME
Thousands of pigs were found dead in rivers supplying Shanghai’s water, a grisly discovery that has drawn attention again to China’s toxic pollution, which contributes to some 700,000 deaths each year. Here are some points of concern:
Tai Lake — a massive basin that holds China’s third largest body of freshwater, providing water for 30 million people — has been classified as a major natural disaster by Beijing after decades of toxic contamination.
The soil and water around Tianying, a Dickensian manufacturing center in northeastern China, have been poisoned by lead runoff. Locally grown wheat carries 24 times the permissible level of lead, a known neurotoxin.
Once fertile farmland in Linfen, China’s coal center, is dotted with mines that spew thick plumes of choking smoke.
Concentrations of airborne particulate in Urumqi — a major transport and cultural hub of 3 million people in northwestern China — consistently measure 10 times the level that the United States deems safe.