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China’s groundwater plagued by pollution

Updated: 2014-11-19 14:24

China’s groundwater plagued by pollution

Polluted water in Tonghui River passes by high-rise buildings in CBD (Central Business District) area in Beijing, 15 January 2012. [Photo/IC]

A report released by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) revealed the majority of China's groundwater is plagued by pollution, Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.

The ministry described the water quality in an estimated 60 percent of the 4,778 groundwater monitoring sites across the country as "bad" or "very bad" in the report, a further indication of China's deepening water woes.

According to the report, 300 of China's 657 major cities have a shortage of water by United Nations standards. The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, for example, has water resources per capita of only 286 cubic meters, far below the 500 cubic meters that is the international standard of acute water shortage.

China is experiencing a water deficit reaching more than 50 billion cubic meters annually in terms of water consumption, Chen Ming, an official with China's Ministry of Water Resources, told Xinhua.

Of China's 31 major freshwater lakes 17 are suffering from pollution at "slight" or "moderate" levels, the report said. Freshwater lakes are major sources of drinking water and have important ecological functions.

The report was released as an action plan to protect the country's lakes from pollution was unveiled on Tuesday by China's, National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance and the MEP.

The plan maps out measures to be taken until 2020 to protect 365 lakes in China in which water quality is relatively sound, an attempt to avoid the previous "treatment after pollution" approach.

At a press conference ahead of World Environment Day in June, Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Li Ganjie said that although China's environment has improved in general, he was "not optimistic" about water quality.

The situation could worsen with further economic development and global climate change, Chen said.

Experts blamed some local governments and businesses for recklessly pursuing quick money by developing projects that devoured resources and caused and serious pollution.


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