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River Still Polluted After Cleanup Efforts
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The Huaihe River basin remains heavily polluted despite more than a decade's efforts to clean it, water officials said Monday.

In a report to the National People's Congress, the Huaihe River commission under the Ministry of Water Resources, said the country had failed to control the amount of pollutants dumped into the river, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The polluted Huaihe River

And the situation remains serious because the amount of wastewater being discharged into the river by provinces within the basin exceeds national standards, the report said.

Despite the negative report, Wang Bin, deputy director of the commission, said pollution-control efforts had "reaped some fruit".

For instance, the chemical oxygen demand (COD), an important indicator of water pollutants, was 851,800 tons last year, its lowest level since the government launched its campaign to clean up the Huaihe in 1993.

However, the figure was still about 30 percent above the target level.

Wang said the discharge of wastewater into the river was the main reason for the continued pollution.

The Huaihe River stretches more than 1,000 km through Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shandong provinces.

Henan, the country's most populous province, with more than 100 million people, was the worst offender, the report said, discharging more than 320,000 tons of COD, nearly twice the permitted amount, into the river last year. Shandong discharged a little more than 120,000 tons.

And the situation is showing no signs of improving, Wang said. In the first half of the year, more than half the 600 pipes pumping pollutants into the river were found to be discharging amounts above the permitted levels.

Wang said about 4.4 billion tons of wastewater were being dumped into the river every year.

It will be very difficult to achieve the goal of reducing the COD discharge to about 460,000 tons by 2010, he said.

"The most important task now is to ensure industrial polluters achieve the required standards," Wang was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

(China Daily August 7, 2007)

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