China will secure safe drinking water for 267 million rural
residents by 2012, three years ahead of the schedule required by
the UN's Millennium Declaration, made in 2000.
The country will also exceed the declaration's requirement by
helping 70 percent of people in need.
The declaration called for the world to halve, by 2015, the
proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking
water and sanitation.
"In the coming 10 years or so, China will accelerate efforts to
secure access to clean water supplies for everyone, a hard
challenge for us," a leading water official said.
Addressing a high-level roundtable meeting sponsored by the
Global Water Partnership (GWP), Wang Shucheng, minister of water
resources, made it clear that the government would do its best to
achieve the goal.
Under his plan, up to 100 million rural people will have access
to clean drinking water within the next five years.
"During that period, work will be carried out to improve water
quality for drinking water with a high content of fluoride,
arsenic, salt and other environmental pollutants," he said.
"And by 2012, up to 267 million rural residents, whose lives
have been hit by sub-standard drinking water, will have clean
water, which will also help with waterborne diseases."
The number includes 67 million rural people that were provided
with clean drinking water between 2000-05, when thousands of new
water processing facilities went into operation.
"It means that we will have secured clean water to 70 per cent
of China's total rural people without access to safe drinking water
and sanitation three years earlier than the goal set by the UN in
2000, and we will have exceeded the requirement to cut by half the
number of people with problems," he said.
"China's water challenges are inspiring for the whole world
because what you do here will have a profound effect on the
sustainability of life on our planet, where water is so crucial for
human life," said Khalid Mohtadullah, a senior advisory of GWP.
Globally 1.8 million people die every year from
Around 88 per cent of diarrhoea is attributed to unsafe water
supplies, and inadequate sanitation and hygiene, he said.
(China Daily June 10, 2006)