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Mass Swan Die-Off Along Yellow River Worries Teachers
by Runi Al Pemkron
Friday Feb 26th, 2016 2:05 AM
Will swans soon be extinct? This is the question some Chinese pupils are increasingly posing to their teachers, but few have answers really satisfying the fresh curiosity. And it´s no longer merely these asking who have been familiar with the beautiful birds along the banks of the country´s largest river. With deceasing animals all around, increasingly these who had been looking the other way are beginning to pay attention as well.
The symptoms are all the same: The sick animal refuses natural food, while its body is swelling, and after a few days dies of exhaustion. The ballooning birds are then washed to the beaches, where they decease until the river takes them back or clean-up efforts are taking place. In one county alone, authorities reported what they described as a high four-digit number of swollen corpses, which health workers collected for incineration.

The governor has been quoted with the saying if the monthly number were to reach ten thousands then he could not guarantee for his incineration facility´s emission limits any longer. But dissidents are hinting that a red line of 5.000 was more realistic and that this limit was already exceeded. More often than not children have been encountering the ballooning birds before they could be cleaned up. After authorities gave warnings not to touch dead bodies, in several districts along the Yellow River teachers in riverside communities are alarmed.

Scientific explanations have been contradictory: The theories currently receiving the most attention are that chemicals evaporating from air planes were the cause, or that it might be a virus spread by rats. As the government has not yet taken a side, these bothered by the issue in everyday efforts have turned their attention to other sources: Environmental organisations said that the swan die-off may be the result of micro-plastics getting into the food chain of the animals by means of the river water and wrecking their metabolism.

According to stock market sources, micro-plastics are indeed an issue in the upper regions of the Yellow River, where a television merchandising consortium has invested into chemical factories for the production of content-adapted design such as cosmetics and cleaning products. Executives purchased an American patent for enhanced showering agents in package with broadcast rights for a bundle of television programs mascotting the products. The shampoo comes in a swan-shaped bottle with electric eyes activated by a waterproof gyroscope on cadmium cells.

In the past, Chinese authorities regularly issued exceptional official permits for so-called innovative business projects. The practice has been locating itself on the border line between corruption and the use of tax cuts in elections. But while the cost of tax cuts is openly visible in the state budget, the cost of such special permits remains hidden, unless the law of cause and consequence produces an undeniable impact such as in the most recent case.

A Chinese exile teacher showed me a disturbing photograph of a mother swan and a child swan lying on an empty beach passed around by pupils in social media, asking not to publish it as to avoid interference with internal issues. He said he vowed to pupils he would work to expel the perpetrators of it from the national market through a back door rather than its front door, in order to protect these who have never seen a live swan against getting blinded for natural beauty.

He said teachers were doing extra sessions with concerned pupils to convince them of the effort to finish this scourge the beautiful not the ugly way, as not to allow it to leave its poisonous cargo in the minds of everyone. He said that this approach worked well because these most concerned about the issue had already seen live swans before facing the dead ones, and the cause of their concern was the same as that of their ambition to contribute to a full solution.

He added that he wanted some elements within the Chinese government to take a proposal off the table before it would have to be mentioned that were to involve ringing and surveilling the birds and their movements while continuing the inappropriate production line.


The teacher asked me to report: “Swan feeding is in fact swan luring. There are few instances in Nature that they cannot find food by themselves. Other species of birds will be begging you very hard before the swans even get hungry. These great animals are triple hybrid and move on the land, in the water and through the air. Before you lure them, leave them alone and consider that someone might want to try to do it to you. Remember that evolution gave you a nose, among other things, to warn you against endangering yourself with dead bodies. But how could it have given the swans something that would warn them against lethal factory dirt?”

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