In the morning, the small park is filled with early-rising exercisers. We join them, following the riverbank toward the wastewater discharge pipe. As we walk, the clean air becomes unbreathable. The sour, irritating stink increases in intensity until we arrive at the discharge pipe. Sampling the wastewater goes relatively smoothly in the daytime. But in order to obtain evidence of the extent of the pollution, we must sample the wastewater at different times throughout the day. This work is sort of like a police stakeout – from early morning until deep into the night, all day long we must continuously patrol the area around the discharge pipe. It was difficult to endure an entire day in a place pervaded by such a stinging, foul stench – not very amusing work.
In the evening, we continue to stroll and linger near the discharge pipe. As passersby gradually became fewer and fewer, eventually our only companions are a few dimly lit streetlamps. At this late hour, the flow of wastewater is extraordinarily heavy and very dark in color. The water froths white with foam, which remain intact all the way into the center of the river. What on earth are they discharging? Confronted with such pollution, everyone forgot their deep exhaustion and we promptly began preparing to take samples. This time, collecting twenty bottles of samples took us about twice as long as it had during the day. We were all incredibly tired as we transported the samples back.
Later that same night, as soon as we organized the samples we had just collected, we gathered our equipment and headed back to discharge pipe. None of us slept that night.