China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Water pollution threatens harmonious development

Jan. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Living in North China's Shanxi Province, Liu Shengji and his family, have recently been haunted by the news that more than half of the rivers in their province were covered by "black slick."

feel increasingly insecure about the drinking water," said the 42-year-old resident in the provincial capital Taiyuan, while speaking of more river pollution in other parts of China, including the recent chemical leak into the Songhua River in Northeast China.

to the latest monthly report released by Shanxi's environment watchdog, 58 of the 99 rivers in the province were seriously contaminated while only 9 rivers' qualities were up to Grade I or II of the national standard, accounting for less than one tenth of the total rivers.

river pollution was not limited to Shanxi. In 2005, a string of water pollution incidence wrecked unprecedented havoc onvarious parts of China.

official report released this year said that China's longestriver, the Yangtze, is being threatened by 28 billion tons of polluted water.

year China's water pollution problem was underlined by huge chemical spills into the Songhua River, into which about 100 tons of cancer-caused benzene chemicals were spewed following an explosion at a chemical plant.

is the origin of life and the core of the environment. Water safety is what constitutes people's basic living conditions,not a luxury," said Feng Guangzhi, president of China Irrigation Districts' Association.

frequent water pollution incidence have made the Chinese, who are aspiring for harmonious development, feel threatened.

vicious cycle, including stained water sources, polluted drinking water and unclean food, is a vital issue affecting people's health and safety," said He Shaoling, vice engineer-in-chief of the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research.

show that many farmlands within the regions of the Yellow river have been irrigated with polluted water, bringing harm to residents' health estimated at 2.2 to 2.7 billion yuan (about 270 to 330 million US dollars) every year.

pollution has also resulted in enormous economic losses. The pollution in the Yellow River has increased the cost of water for industrial use and degraded product quality, resulting in a loss of 2.3 to 3.2 billion yuan (about 280 to 390 million US dollars); it has also wrecked havoc of 3.3 billion yuan (about 4 million US dollars) on agriculture. In all, the polluted Yellow River has caused an economic loss of 11.5 to 15.6 billion dollars (about 1.4 to 1.9 billion US dollars).

report released by the World Bank said that water and air pollution have caused loss equivalent to 8 percent of China's annual GDP and environment pollution have made China's developmentcost 7 percent higher than the world average.

pollution is not solely caused by nature, but is a jointresult of human nature, society and economic development," said MaZhong, deputy director of Environment College of China's People University.

pollution has also drawn high attention of senior leadersand central government.

President Hu Jintao has put the protection of water sources and the supply of clean water among the top priorities.

Minister of State Environmental Protection Administration(SEPA) Zhang Lijun said that next 25 years will be a key period in curbing the deterioration of water quality while at the same time China's fast growing economy will also mount an unprecedented pressure on water protection.

have also called for governments at various levels to make extra efforts to protect the environment and reasonably utilize resources during the course of building a harmonious society.

officials said that on basis of advanced technology and with the participation of the whole society, China will put forward a national strategy in a bid to prevent and treat the pollution of groundwater and protect water sources.

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