Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

The £24,000 question: Would you take a dip in China's polluted rivers?


A businessman in China’s wealthy Zhejiang province has dared his environmental protection chief to take a dip in a polluted river in Rui’an city for 200,000 yuan (£24,000), after posting pictures of the rubbish-filled waterway on his microblog.

The offer by Jin Zengmin, who says a shoe factory has been dumping wastewater into the river, comes after data in state media showed that one-fifth of the water in China’s rivers is toxic to touch, and two-fifths is seriously polluted.

China’s economic boom has been fuelled by factory output, and there are regular horror stories of poisoned waters. Last month, nine tons of the chemical aniline, which is used to make polyurethane and stinks like rotten fish, leaked into a river in northern China, fouling water supplies.