China in Olympic-Size Stink over Dumped Dead Pets
BEIJING Residents of Beijing are worried that the careless disposal of dead pets is hurting their campaign for a "green" Olympic Games to be held in the capital in 2008, Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.
Of the more than 200 pets that die each day in Beijing, only one is cremated. The rest are either buried or dumped in trash cans, Xinhua said.
Pets were shunned in the days of Mao Zedong as a symbol of bourgeois decadence, but pet pooches have become increasingly popular in the last decade as living standards have risen dizzily.
"Quite a number of pet owners bury their pets either in the lawns of residential quarters or in public places, and quite a number of dead pets end up in the trash cans of residential communities," Liao Yumin, manager of the Beijing Boai Animal Crematorium, was quoted as saying.
"The careless burial of dead animals could result in hazardous pollution as rainwater or flooding runs over the bodies," he said.
The issue came to the attention of authorities last year when civet cats, considered a delicacy in the south, were found to be linked with an outbreak of SARS, he added.
In an online survey by the Beijing municipal government, "citizens have shown concern that the careless disposal of dead pets in the city might do harm to the capital Beijing as it has been exerting itself to host a Green Olympics in 2008, one of the goals of which is to improve waste treatment in Beijing," Xinhua said.
At the end of June, Beijing had 417,731 registered dogs, an increase of more than 7,000 over 2003, show statistics from the city public security bureau.
The actual number of pets in the city was estimated at more than a million, Xinhua said.