VOXPOP: Chinese river turns red: a sign of the times?

POSTED: 09/12/12 12:54 PM

St. Maarten – We know that all of the focus is on the governor’s address to open the 2012/2013 parliamentary year but we have dared to assume that our readers are interested in more than just political news. That is why we have picked up on this story from East Asia.
The Yangtze, a river that people have used for drinking water, irrigation, fishing and transportation in China, turned scarlet last Thursday, September 6 for the first time. It is the world’s third longest river, responsible for 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and the source of many of the seafood that is imported by St.Maarten businesses. According to media reports, residents in the surrounding area near the city of Chongqing, where the Yangtze connects to the Jialin River, literally stopped in their tracks when they noticed their once golden river had turned a shocking shade of red. The discovery was reminiscent of when our Great Salt Pond turned bright green as a result of uncontrolled algae build-up.
Even though the water doesn’t look too safe, the new beet-red color of the river didn’t stop people from going about their business. Workers who rely on the Yangtze as their main source of income, including fishermen, continued about their daily work as if nothing were unusual. Although this incident has occurred in an entirely different part of the world globalization brings it close to home. So we asked our readers: was this phenomenon a sign of the times or the startling effects of industrial pollution?

Donellis Browne-Law student
“The People’s Republic of China’s poor environmental performance is a matter of public record. The fact that a river has turned blood red may very well be a sign of a lack of strict controls of what is being dumped in the country’s waterways. However blood red has religious tones. It reminds me of when Moses used his staff to turn an Egyptian river blood red as part of the liberation of the Jews. There are arguments to support both sides based on how people wish to interpret it.”

Sara Vanterpool -Administrative assistant
“I don’t know what to make of it. I read it on the internet but I don’t want to assume. Sometimes nature has a way of coming back to bite us, for example the Salt Pond always turns green when the pollution is mixed with other chemicals there. It is bright, bright green but when you say a river turns red, that one is really mind boggling. I will admit though that my first thought was the Bible story when the river in Egypt turned blood red as one of the plagues that God sent.”

Kaisha Payne-Cosmetologist
“Not everything can be proved by science; I would suggest that people read the Bible especially the books of Daniel and Revelation.”

George Williams-Supervisor
Well what could make that water turn blood red? Nothing I can think of except to say signs of the times. This sounds like a more interesting reason although I am not a very religious person.

Nick Smith-Parent
“How does the fact that it changed any color imply the end of the world at all? Clearly there is matter in the river that has appeared in such density as to reflect more light than the di-hydrogen monoxide molecules, and other sediments floating along the river. All we have to do is find the source of the sediment by taking samples of the river, running it through a mass spec, and then compare the results to known geological records of the area. It’s not the end of the world; it’s a prompt to solve a possibly fun, albeit short lived scientific mystery.”

J.D-cashier
“I hope the fish we get at the supermarkets doesn’t come from this river. The bags all say China.”

John Wyatt -Cyclist
“Tell that slave keeper Pharaoh, to let my people go, and the whole world knows that China grinds their employees to produce, it is a form of modern day slavery, so God is doing what he has to do.”

Alton Green-Technician
“I don’t even know what to say, but I think it comes from the sun, just like how our Caribbean waters look blue but it is actually white.”

Pierre Richardson-Evangelist
“The thing about people is that they love to hear everything regarding science and climate changes from scientists but they refuse to hear the truth. How often does the longest river in Asia turn red? People need to wake up and smell the roses, it is happening; Revelation. The Bible says that the rivers will turn red and dry up to prepare the way for the Kings of the East to cross over to make war with the Lord. Now’s the time to repent, now is the time to stop the sinning and ask Jesus to change you. Now is the time. Tomorrow may be too late. The greatest scientist I’ve ever heard of is God. Look it up, all you need to know about science and climate change is in the Bible. It was written thousands of years ago and then when man found out his way through trial and error, then he must have said: “Ah yes,” but never admitting that God knows it all. Man is in his fallen rebellious state.”

Vivian Haanraat-Retired
“There were several instances when our waters turned green. Is that a sign of the time? No, whatever people put in the water in secret always comes to light one day. Because so many industrial stuff is done near that river, who knows what people dump in there and how long ago. My only concern now is the food that China exports to the rest of the world. The news said that people are still fishing in the water. I do not plan to eat any fish from there, we need to support our local fishermen more because St.Maarten always eating whatever the world produces and we have no idea where it comes from. This is a wakeup call for all of us.”

Concerned Citizen
“This is definitely sign of the time, if we really look it is everywhere. My son drew to my attention the other evening that the sky was unusual; when I looked the sky was so red. It was amazing, I was getting ready to leave for church and I was late but I spent a little time just staring at it.”

Samantha Murphy-Observer
“I believe it’s a sign of the end of times. I believe that because we have seen many more signs occur over the past few years, such as earthquakes in diverse places in such short time spans. Before you had to wait 25 years; but now you have to wait 3 months maximum. Then there are extreme natural disasters that are occurring. Numerous children are having children and more and more you see people caring for themselves and not caring about others.”

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