Yangtze River chemical leak raises concern in China

Bottled water in Nantong in Jiangsu province Bottled water in Jiangsu province sold out following a water pollution scare

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Shanghai authorities are on alert after a chemical leak from a cargo ship polluted the Yangtze River, state-run media report.

According to an official statement, the leak was caused by a cargo ship in neighbouring Jiangsu province.

Officials said that phenol - an acid compound used to make detergents - entered the river last week.

This is the country's second water pollution scare in a month.

In January, water supplies in the southern region of Guangxi became contaminated with cadmium from a mining company. People were warned not to drink water from rivers in affected areas.

The Shanghai Daily newspaper reported that the chemical leak may have originated from a South Korean ship docked in Zenjiang city.

There was panic buying of bottled water in some areas in Jiangsu after residents noticed a foul smell coming from the tap water. Officials have since announced that the water quality has now normalised.

Shanghai's drinking water supply mainly comes from the Yangtze River. An environment official has said that the city was ready to shut down water supplies from the Yangtze should the need arise.

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