Shanghai — Shanghai stepped up inspections and retrieval of dead pigs from its main river after the number of carcasses found in China's largest commercial city climbed to at least 6,600 Wednesday.
The government pulled 685 hogs from the Huangpu river as of 3 p.m., adding to the 5,916 found up until Tuesday, according to a statement on its microblog. The number of pigs found Wednesday fell almost 44 percent from Tuesday even as responsible departments were told to increase checks and add to retrieval efforts following rains Tuesday night and early Wednesday, according to the statement.
The discovery of the hogs comes as China's legislature addresses issues of food safety and citizens become more vocal on the government's handling of public health and environmental issues. The government said March 10 at a National People's Congress meeting that it plans to create a regulator with broader authority to ensure food and drug safety and said the agriculture ministry will oversee the quality of farm products.
"The impact on sentiment is big when you see floating pigs along this river," Jean-Yves Chow, an analyst at Rabobank International, said in an interview in Hong Kong. "It's come to a situation where the government has to do what they need to make some improvements and create transparency among farmers."
The Shanghai government said Sunday it's investigating why so many dead pigs were found in the river. People in Jiaxing, a city in Zhejiang province, have been dumping hogs in the river since March 4, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Shanghai information office. Xinhua said authorities in Jiaxing acknowledged dead pigs had been dumped in the water.
The Huangpu River cuts through the center of China's financial hub, running past Shanghai's historic waterfront Bund area. The districts of Songjiang and Jinshan, where many of the pigs were found, are more than 30 kilometers (18 miles) southwest of the city center, which is home to the country's largest stock market and the China headquarters of HSBC Holdings and Citigroup.