Swim in River in Shanghai

Shanghai has been highly polluted. When I came to Shanghai more than 10 years ago, I thought people can swim in the Huangpu river, then I just find out to swim in the Huangpu River is just impossible.

Meanwhile, some serious effort has been put into some of the rivers (just very few that I can name). To my greatest surprise, I started to see people swimming in the natural river today.

It is at the Zhangjiabang River, just besides the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum. Actually three persons were swimming there. Based on my observation, the quality of the water has been good enough for swim – I even think it is a good idea to swim just in the river.

Congratulations! A good sign for the natural protection and recover started to show the result. Among all the worse and worse situation in rivers and lands, I at least can name one example river in Shanghai that is suitable for swimming now.

Ironically, people swim in the “good for swimming” river, despite of “No Swimming” sign everywhere. Maybe this is the few places in Shanghai that actually need the sign – people won’t swim in other rivers with, or without the sign anyway.

Update August 17, 2008

Here is the photo I took today to compliment with this article:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at Zhangjiabang River near the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum

14 thoughts on “Swim in River in Shanghai

  1. I doubt the river is clean enough. Even when it looks cleaner, it can still be very toxic. A good indicator is the recurrence of natural plants and wildlife such as birds and fish. I didn’t see any of that in Shanghai when I was there. Perhaps these 3 are overcome with heatstroke!

    In Shenzhen we call our river the ‘yellow river’ because it stinks so much.

  2. Hmmm… The good thing is, at lease, the river I saw LOOKS like pure. For most of other rivers, it looks so bad, and people even don’t want to watch it.

  3. I don’t know about the Zhangjiabang River , however Pudong is anyway much “greener” , relatively purer air, century park etc…

    The other rivers are so filthy , that I wouldn’t dare even put my hand in it..

    The Suzhou Creek was “cleaned” up several years ago with a US$ 300 million loand from the World Bank, and the only improvement is that it doesn’t stinkas much as the Huangpu…

    Anyway, it is not just Shanghai: 2 months ago, I took a 3-day trip with my wife to Hangzhou; took a boat rideon the lake,I plunged my hand in the water, and had to apply cortisone cream in the evening.

    The water we get in home is treated so much that it itches your skin after shower due to the concentration of chlorine…and one of my friends who bought a 5 millions RMB apartment inthe French Concession keeps telling me how “brown” is the water coming of of the tap….

  4. Obviously, the rivers in Shanghai has been improving with billions of yuan of investment. Besides, residents living by the rivers who are more concerned about their property value and more sensitive to pollution will be more likely to push for clean water.

    First pollute, then clean up. Isn’t that the path taken by each country?

    The polished English citizens used to dump human waste into the River Thames and the foul smell or “Great Stink” forced the UK Parliament to shut down only 150 years ago.

    The New York city before 1970 was famous for its crime and dirtyness. People are paid (or bribed) to live there compared to its current status as the most expensive city to live in the U.S.

    More money should be spent on improving people’s basic needs such as clean water and air rather than the joking Olympics which has already cost more than 30 billion US dollars.

  5. People can swimming in beijing river too, I see that last month. Just nearby the three loop circuit.

  6. well….

    to try to make a parade saying that SH is unpolluted… is one thing… to try to convince people to swim in the creeks of the Huangpu river is another…

    the water can only be very high polluted.. over 17 mil people… and several of their sewage goest strait in the water unprioperly treated… the high tide that bring in the stincky grey sea water…… well there is any enemy in your reader that you may try to convince to swin in the huangpu ? :-)

    imagination…. imaging that metropolis are clean, with blue sky.. transparent waters… fresh air…. that the economy is well…. imaging the viceversa of the true….

    yes fantasy is a wonderful think

    have a good swimming day.. :-)

  7. Look ok, do not mean is clean, according to European standards I believe no one river is clean in less than 300km away of shanghai.

    Will be interesting to test the water quality (I do not mean take gov statistics which are most of the time not true…. same for the official “blue sky” in Beijing for which they show improvement as they cheated by changing the way to measure).

    And a advice, if you swim… better quickly after take a good shower.

  8. If you go to: http://www.sepb.gov.cn you can see the water quality measurements for various rivers in Shanghai on the homepage.

    I haven’t yet looked into what the water quality measurements mean-maybe someone can point us in the direction of an explanation.

  9. Zhangjiabang River is dangerous to swim in, as I have seen many reports in the news that every year there are people drawn there. That’s why “No swimming” sign is there.

  10. from tv,i am sorry to hear that two chidren drawn in the jiangjiaping river yesterday.it is so pity!

    so it is not safe to swim in the river!be careful!

  11. I don’t recommend swimming in the Huangpu River. I recently took a three hour cruise on the river and the stink of the river made me sick to my stomach. I couldn’t wait for the trip to be over. I also took a three day cruise down the Yangtze River and not once in three days did I see any fish or birds in the river water.

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