Excessive amounts of antibiotics found in China’s rivers

Pharma companies and poultry farms behind 'illegal' discharge of antibiotics

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 05 January 2015


In a situation that threatens to cause widespread antibiotic resistance, many kinds of antibiotics have been detected in China’s Yangtze, Huangpu and Pearl rivers, and in tap water in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, reported China Central Television (CCTV) in December.

The report blamed “illegal” discharges by Shandong Lukang Pharmaceutical, one of China's four major antibiotic producers, and excessive use of antibiotics in the poultry industry. 

The antibiotics traced in rivers can enter the food chain through soil and groundwater and lead to resistance to treatment of even common ailments.

According to the report, the pharma company’s per litre discharge contains over 50,000 nanograms of antibiotics, which is 10,000 times above the level of antibiotics in untainted water. China’s official news agency Xinhua reported that 70 per cent of all drugs produced in the country are antibiotics.

The CCTV report also highlights the excessive use of antibiotics by poultry farmers to fatten birds and prevent disease. 

An article on Want China Times, a news website, states that the country’s ministry of environmental protection has sent a team to investigate the findings of the CCTV report. The report has drawn attention to possible lapses in implementation of laws by local environmental protection bureaus.


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