Daily Health Headlines

Smog may be easing, but in parts of China water quality worsens

👤by FoxNews.com 0 comments 🕔Friday, November 18th, 2016

SHANGHAI/BEIJING -  China is making progress in battling the damaging smog that can shroud its big cities, but in many areas - from parts of the giant Yangtze river to the coalfields of Inner Mongolia - its water pollution is getting worse.

Despite commitments to crack down on polluters, the quality of water in rivers, lakes and reservoirs in several regions has deteriorated significantly, according to inspection teams reporting back to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).

In documents published this week, inspectors found that a fifth of the water in the Yangtze's feeder rivers in one province was unusable, and thousands of tonnes of raw sewage were being deposited into one river in northeastern Ningxia each day.

Worried about unrest, China launched its war on pollution in 2014, vowing to reverse the damage done to its skies, rivers and soil by more than three decades of breakneck industrial growth.

WHO: Excessive air pollution affects 92 percent of people China launches pollution probe after hundreds of students fall sick Doctors hail China's pledge to stop harvesting inmate organs

"We still have a lot of work to do," vice-minister Zhao Yingmin said at a press briefing on Friday.

"First, I'd say the point of inspections is to discover problems, and indeed we discovered in some places water quality has gotten significantly worse," he said, noting, though, that the overall situation was improving.

Over the first nine months of this year, 70.3 percent of samples taken from 1,922 surface water sites around China could be used as drinking water, up 4 percentage points from a year ago, Zhao said.

TIGHT SUPPLY

China has long been worried about a water supply bottleneck that could jeopardize future economic development. Per capita supplies are less than a third of the global average.

A survey published by the MEP last year showed that nearly two thirds of underground water and a third of surface water was unsuitable for human contact, with much of it contaminated by fertilizer run-offs, heavy metals and untreated sewage.

China's priority, though, has been air pollution, especially in industrialized regions like Beijing and Hebei, and it said this week that concentrations of harmful small particles, known as PM2.5, fell 12.5 percent in January-October.

"With air, you stop pollution at the source, and the blue skies come back instantly," said Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, which monitors Chinese water pollution.

"For water, you can stop pollution at the source, but you still have the polluted sediment and the soil that is going to leech into the water, and it's going to take much longer."

"BELOW GRADE 5"

China grades its water in five categories. Grade three and above is deemed safe for direct human contact, while grades four and five can only be used in industry and agriculture. Water "below grade five" has "lost all functionality".

In an action plan published last year, the government vowed to improve water quality nationwide by 2030, and it aims to bring large volumes of unusable "below grade five" water back into the economy.

While improvements have been made in the past five years, China's growing demand for water has put increasing pressure on its limited resources, and sources of pollution have not been put under adequate control, said vice-minister Zhao.

This week, the top coal producing province of Shanxi revealed that 29 of the 100 surface water sites tested between January and September were found to be "below grade five", with water in the city of Datong deteriorating sharply over the period.

In the manufacturing powerhouse of Jiangsu near Shanghai on the eastern coast, inspectors found that the Yangtze, China's longest river, wasn't being protected. They said 20.5 percent of water samples taken from feeder rivers were "below grade five" last year, an increase of 11.4 percentage points in a year.

The number of surface water monitoring sites meting state standards in the coal producing region of Inner Mongolia fell by 7.7 percentage points, and the number categorized as "below grade five" rose by more than three percentage points.

In Ningxia in the northwest, another growing coal producer, water at two lakes had deteriorated from grade three to "below grade five", and inspectors found that 6,400 tonnes of raw sewage was being deposited into one river each day.

Ammonia and phosphate concentrations in one reservoir in rural Guangxi in the southwest, doubled last year as a result of pollution from farming and fishing, the ministry said.

China said this year it would spend 430 billion yuan ($62.4 billion) on around 4,800 separate projects aimed at improving the quality of its water supplies, though it did not give a timeframe.

"You need infrastructure, and there is a deficit that we have to catch up ... but the problem is how to find the motivation to clean up and behave properly, and stop pollution at the source," said Ma at the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Article Credits / Source

FoxNews.com

FoxNews.com provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from FoxNews.com.

View More Articles From FoxNews.com 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Health Headlines Articles

Johnson & Johnson in early talks to buy drugmaker Actelion

Johnson & Johnson in early talks to buy drugmaker Actelion0

NEW YORK -  Johnson & Johnson is in early talks to buy the Swiss drugmaker Actelion Pharmaceuticals. Actelion Pharmaceuticals Ltd. makes high blood pressure medicines that treat arteries in the lung and around the heart. Johnson & ...

IVF calculator may help predict chances of having a baby

IVF calculator may help predict chances of having a baby0

A new calculator can help couples see their odds of success with in vitro fertilization (IVF) before they start treatment, a recent study suggests. Doctors have traditionally been reluctant to estimate couples' chances of having a baby before ...

Chronic gum disease tied to risk of erectile dysfunction

Chronic gum disease tied to risk of erectile dysfunction0

Erectile dysfunction is more common in men with gum disease, according to a new review of existing studies. Chronic bacterial infection of the gums, or periodontitis, is common and a major cause of tooth loss for adults, the authors write. The ...

Are colds and flu worse in women than in men?

Are colds and flu worse in women than in men?0

Colds and the flu may take a bigger toll on women than men, according to a new study based on people's reports of their own symptoms. The women in the study were more likely than the men in the study to report severe fatigue and muscle aches ...

Why fewer Americans say they want to lose weight

Why fewer Americans say they want to lose weight0

Americans today are less likely to say they want to lose weight, compared to those surveyed a decade ago, according to a new poll. The poll, from Gallup, found that an average of 53 percent of American adults who were polled between 2010 and ...

View More Health Headlines Articles

0 Comments

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!