Shoals of dead fish washed up on the banks of Shing Mun River last week, around the same time as Greenpeace released data indicating that five of Hong Kong’s biggest drinking water reservoirs are tainted with a potentially carcinogenic chemical, perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). Lovely!
Mathematically-challenged local media have estimated the number of dead fish at anything from 400 to a staggering 10,000.
Oriental Daily reports Sha Tin district councilwoman Scarlett Pong as saying that two different tests (biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand, FYI) of the river’s water in recent years showed elevated levels of pollutants. Pong went on to say that she has already complained to the Environmental Protection Department.
While the water quality of Shing Mun river has reportedly improved since 1993, it is occasionally threatened by the polluted waters of Tolo Harbour, which backflow into the river during high tide. Shing Mun River has multiple tributaries, one of which apparently flows into Shing Mun Reservoir.
According to Hong Kong Free Press, Greenpeace said that Shing Mun Reservoir tested positively for PFCs, although it reportedly showed a lower concentration that some other reserviors as it collects rainwater and mountain stream water.
PFCs are supposedly commonly used in the production of outdoor consumer items, like weatherproof membranes, as they are both water and oil-repellent.