April 21-27, 2014

Chinese Businessman Offers Environmental Official $32,000 to Swim in Polluted River

By Justin Ray
|  Friday, Mar 8, 2013  |  Updated 3:42 PM EDT
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[FILE] Entrepreneur Jin Zengmin wants to bring attention to environmental concerns in China's eastern province.

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A Chinese businessman agitated by a polluted river devised a plan to address the problem. He is offering an environmental official $32,000 to swim in the dirty water, according to the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

Jin Zengmin, chief executive of a eyeglasses retailer, will reward the official if he remains in the water for 20 minutes. His plan is to bring attention to the environmental concerns in China's eastern province.

He announced the dare on Sina Weibo, a China microblogging site similar to Twitter.

“If the environmental protection bureau chief dares to swim in [Ruian's] river for 20 minutes, I will pay  200,000 yuan [$32,062],” Jin wrote.

Jin also posted three photos of a river in Ruian, a small town in the east coast of China. In the photos, trash can be seen blocking the river's flow. Jin claims a rubber overshoe factory is to blame for refuse and industrial waste. 

Villagers used to use the river to wash vegetables and clothes during his childhood, Jin said to Chinanews.com.

When asked for a comment, Ruian’s environmental protection bureau chief, Bao Zhenmin, reportedly said that there was in fact a problem with pollution with the river, however he placed blame on the villagers, not the factories.

“Overpopulation of this region is the main reason behind the pollution…[The population] has largely exceeded the local environment’s capacity,” Bao told Chinanews.com.

Apparently there will be a new water recycling system put in place within three years that includes proper facilities for trash disposal, Bao said.

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