Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Fact of the Day: 80 Percent of China's Groundwater Polluted

Discoloured water isn't a good sign, especially near factories in China...
It's depressing though not surprising to find about 80 percent of the groundwater in China's major river basins is unsafe for human consumption, according to a survey by the Ministry of Water Resources.

Last year the ministry tested 2,103 wells in the basins of the Yangtze, Yellow River, Huai River and Hai River, and found exploitation and pollution from industrial and agricultural emissions threatened water standards.

The results covered 18 provinces and was the first time -- the first time -- the ministry published water quality information in its monthly update on its website.

Too much algae in this water due to phosphates
Nitrate pollution was common, and in some cases water was contaminated due to heavy metals and organic pollutants, which are more difficult to remove.

Nearly half, or 47.3 percent of the wells tested were found to have fifth grade or "extremely bad" water quality, about one-third had fourth grade, or "bad" water quality. None of the wells had "excellent" water quality.

Fourth or fifth grade groundwater is so polluted that it is unfit for human consumption.

The water ministry's finding that 80 percent of China's groundwater is polluted is higher than the 60 percent figure issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The environment ministry looked at data from nearly 4,900 monitoring sites in 202 cities, though it wasn't clear if the two ministries overlapped in their data collection.

Critics say groundwater monitoring standards are outdated and that monitoring is insufficient, suggesting surveys may not reflect the full scale of pollution.

Groundwater keep dropping in this photo taken in Kunming
Does that not sound like the government is in denial about wanting to know the  actual quality of the groundwater? After over 30 years of fast-paced economic development at any price, the reality of devastation comes back to bite.

How are people supposed to live productive lives if they are sickened by the water they drink?

Access to clean drinking water is essential to realizing human rights, according to the United Nations.

China could blame the west for imposing all of its polluting businesses on it -- but really it could have said no, or forced foreign companies to conform to strict environmental guidelines.

Regardless of the blame game, something needs to be done now to rectify the issue. Does anyone have any bright ideas besides moving people to the cities?

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