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Authorities to crack down on water pollution

By Mo Ting (Global Times)

10:58, February 17, 2012

Nearly 40 percent of river water in China failed to reach water quality standards last year, said State authorities Thursday, as they vowed to take the strictest possible measures to tackle the severe situation facing China's water resources.

A total of 75 billion tons of waste water were poured into China's rivers last year. About 20 percent of the sub-standard water was so polluted that it could not even be used for industrial or agricultural purposes, Hu Siyi, the vice minister of the Ministry of Water Resources, said at a press conference Thursday.

If weak water resources management policies continued to exist, the demands of human health and economic development will not be met, Hu said.

By the year 2030, the quantity of water exploited must be less than 700 billion cubic meters, and the efficiency of water exploitation must meet international levels. Industrial waste poured into rivers must also be controlled according to the accumulated capacities of rivers, making sure 95 percent of water meets standard quality, according to guidelines on water resources released by the State Council Thursday.

According to Hu, as China's heavy chemical industry develops rapidly, severe pollution disasters are likely to occur due to lack of supervision, especially along river areas where heavy chemical plants are located.

Industrial waste containing Cadmium disposed to the Longjiang River last month led to public panic over drinking water in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and nine officials, including the deputy mayor of Hechi, were dismissed from their posts or given warnings.

Another case involving drinking water pollution was reported in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province earlier this month, prompting tens of thousands of people to take to the streets.

Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told the Global Times that standards on water resources management are stricter than before, but the key to ensuring water quality and appropriate water resources exploitation lay in the effective implementation of policies.

"Some local governments make economic benefits the top priority and disregard the protection of the environment," said Ma.

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