Drinking Water Quality
Declining In China
By Joseph Popiolkowski
22 May 2007
Officials from China's top environmental watchdog have told the state
news agency some of the country's most polluted rivers and lakes are not
getting any cleaner.
location within China
The quarterly report by China's chief
environmental regulation agency delivers a sobering warning, the quality
of most of its cities' air and water has declined since the beginning of
China has been not been able to successfully balance the integrity of
its environment with heavy industrialization driven by record-breaking
In light of the report's findings, a key Chinese official on
environmental policy was quoted by the state news agency Tuesday as
calling for impact studies for all future projects.
Wen Bo, China Program Director for the U.S.-based activist group Pacific
Environment, agrees the situation is serious, and wants to see companies
penalized for harming the environment.
"They are conducting a crime," he said. "They are conducting a serious
crime, although they didn't kill individual persons directly. But by
massively polluting the environment they are killing a whole lot of
people. So they should really make environmental pollution a criminal
State media last week quoted officials as saying that worsening water
and air pollution was partly to blame for making cancer the top killer
in China last year.
Wen also wants Chinese people to become more aware of the increasingly
diseased environments outside their cities and take action.
"Everybody can do their part. Everybody can do their share," he added.
"Teachers can teach that in school. Consumers can pressure the markets
by what kind of products they choose."
The government's latest report said the quality of drinking water in
most cities has declined significantly since the beginning of the year.
The government has made environmental protection a priority but has so
far failed to meet any of its own targets for cutting pollution and
improving energy efficiency. As the environment worsens, economic growth
rates continue to soar, more than eleven percent so far this year.