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Clean Water for 300 Mln Rural People in 10 Years
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The Chinese Ministry of Water Resources has pledged to devote 10 years to ensuring that 300 million rural residents, mainly those in the western region, have clean water to drink.

In the picture taken on August 21, 2005 Miao ethnic minority children in the Zhangjiazhai Village of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region enjoy clean drinking water.

"The state has increased investment in the project, which we hope will get at least 30 million rural people out of the danger of unhealthy drinking water every year," Minister Wang Shucheng told Xinhua Saturday.

The central government will invest 32 billion yuan (about US$4 billion) in the clean water supply project during the 2006-2010 period, the minister said.

Last year, the central government set aside 6 billion yuan to provide safe drinking water to nearly 29 million farmers.

By the end of 2004, there were still 323 million rural people who had to drink unclean or unhealthy water, accounting for 34 percent of the country's total rural population, statistics from the ministry showed.

Wang said while speeding up water supply projects, the Ministry of Water Resources will also cooperate closely with the State Environmental Protection Administration to prevent water pollution in rural areas.

Contaminated underground water, bitter salty water, and water polluted by excessive fluorine and arsenic are three major threats to the health of rural Chinese.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2007)

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