An environment official yesterday painted a bleak picture of pollution in China's rivers, lakes and seas, saying the problem in the near-shore water of major coastal economic zones was particularly serious.
Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Wu Xiaoqing said the quality of near-shore water in north China's Bohai Sea and the East China Sea, as well as water in five of the nine bays along China's coast was "extremely poor."
The bays were the Bohai Bay, the Yangtze estuary, Hangzhou Bay in Zhejiang Province, the Minjiang estuary in Fujian Province and the Pearl River estuary in the southern province of Guangdong.
Wu said that of 469 stations monitoring water quality along 10 major river basins, including the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Pearl River, 61 percent reported ratings of between first and third grade last year, which means water that can be used as natural reserves and drinking water.
But 25.3 percent of rivers were rated as fourth or the fifth grade, meaning the water could not be used without suitable treatment while 13.7 percent were below fifth grade, with water only fit for use in agriculture.
Wu said that in 26 major lakes and reservoirs under state monitoring, 53.8 percent were affected by eutrophication - where excess nutrients spur excessive plant growth.
Among 4,727 groundwater monitoring sites in 200 cities, the water quality of 45 percent has been excellent, good or relatively good, but the other 55 percent was poor or very poor.