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Drinking water safety is not a simple problem

(People's Daily Online)

07:37, January 11, 2013

Technicians test the water quality at Beijing No 9 Water Factory on Jan 07, 2013. (Photo/China Daily)

A couple engaged in water research in Beijing said they never drank tap water during the past two decades, which immediately triggered public concern. Later, Beijing Waterworks Group reassured the public that the tap water in Beijing is drinkable.

The statements from the two sides are not in conflict. The former is concerned about being "healthier", while the latter pays attention only to safety.

Elsewhere, a sudden large-scale suspension of water supply in Handan in Hebei province caught the citizens unprepared. The reason as found out later is the untimely notification of an aniline leak in Changzhi city of Shanxi province, which is located upstream to Handan on the Zhanghe River.

After "healthier drinking water" becomes a concern, will the expectation of the public on tap water still remain at the level of being "safe" in factory testing?

In recent years, food safety, air quality, drinking water quality, and other usual topics are gradually becoming publicly debated topics, which is a reflection of the progress of China's development stages.

In the past, when we only had husk flour, pickles, and industrial saccharin to eat, few people were concerned about food safety. But after the bicycle kingdom became an automobile powerhouse, with the improved economic conditions came such problems as the PM2.5 issue.

This context makes it complex to solve the "post-development problems" and face the corresponding rise in public expectations.

From the realization of adequate food and clothing to the pursuit of environmental protection, and from worrying about their livelihoods to paying attention to ecological environment, the maintenance of the masses' right to health and environmental rights should be incorporated into the livelihood projects today.

The 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party changed the "construction of a comprehensive well-off society" to the "completion of a comprehensive well-off society". The one-character change in the goal represents a solemn commitment.

This commitment is to be honored in food safety, in air quality, in drinking water quality, and in the everyday life of the ordinary people.

Read the Chinese version: “喝水问题”简单吗. Source: People's Daily, Author: Fan Zhengwei

Related Reading:

Beijing tap water getting worse: expert

To drink or not to drink? That is the question for Beijing residents, according to water quality expert Zhao Feihong. Her answer: No. She advises anyone who can afford it to switch to bottled water, claiming it is a safer alternative. [Read More]

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