SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A massive load of garbage, including needles and broken bottles, has washed ashore on an island close to Shanghai, after two ships allegedly dumped more than 100 tonnes of waste in the Yangtze River, the Shanghai Daily reported on Friday.
China's speedy industrial development has seen it struggling to regulate waste disposal, leading to toxic waterways and cities blanketed in smog.
The waste has been floating onto Chongming island since early November, collecting near Dongfengxisha Reservoir, one of Shanghai's four major water sources and which supplies drinking water to 700,000 residents on the island, said the paper.
The garbage contained medical waste such as needles and plastic tubes, as well as cans, clothing and broken bottles, the paper reported Song Jian, deputy general manager of the island's water source management company as saying.
The reservoir was not polluted and tap water on the island is safe to drink, the paper said, citing the Shanghai Water Authority.
The first batch of floating garbage appeared on 5 Nov, Song said. More than 100 tones of garbage has been collected, in more than 48,100 packs, by the end of November, with more than 17,000 packs salvaged since Saturday, the paper said.
It will take around two weeks to clear the garbage.
Several suspects have been held for allegedly dumping the garbage, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau. Shanghai and Jiangsu police have launched a joint investigation.
Reporting by Engen Tham; Editing by Michael Perry