Thousands of Dead Fish Wash Up in Tianjin

No big deal and no link to blast, authorities claim
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2015 12:19 AM CDT
Fish Near Tianjin Blast Site Are Dying Off
Soldiers from a People's Liberation Army chemical-defense unit work to neutralize sodium cyanide residue at the disaster site.   (Chinatopix Via AP)

Thousands of dead fish have been washing ashore a few miles from Tianjin, site of last week's deadly blast, but Chinese authorities say this is "not rare" in summer and probably nothing to worry about. A lot of people however, are very skeptical: They believe the die-off must be connected to the blast at a warehouse that stored 2,500 tons of dangerous chemicals. "I've never seen anything like it," a freight company manager tells the New York Times. "There has to be a link between the dead fish and the blast. What else could explain the death of so many?" The fish washed up on the banks of the Haihe River, which Chinese authorities say has been tested and doesn't contain toxic levels of cyanide.

Photos of the dead fish have gone viral on social media in China, though censors have been doing their best to clamp down on discussion of the disaster, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Communist Party has called the disaster a "profound lesson paid with blood," but despite official condemnation, there's plenty of public anger at how the well-connected owners of the hazardous-chemicals warehouse were able to flout regulations, reports the AP, which went through public documents to discover that the majority owner of Ruihai International Logistics sits on the board of directors of a company controlled by the State Council, which is investigating the disaster. (The warehouse was holding 70 times more sodium cyanide than it was allowed to.)

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