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Millions Invested to Fight Water Pollution
The Ministry of Science and Technology will invest 350 million yuan (US$42 million) to push the fight against water pollution across the country.

The money will be used to develop technologies and equipment for treating wastewater in urban areas and to ensure the safety of drinking water, China Daily learned from the ministry's Department for Rural and Social Development.

Efforts will also be made to advance water treatment in Taihu and Dianchi lakes and in other major rivers and lakes which have been suffering from increasing pollution over the past few years caused by industrial or domestic wastewater, said the department's official Sun Hong.

Dianchi Lake in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, is the biggest lake in Yunnan. The lake has been suffering from industrial pollution, quick-spreading blue-green algae, and fertilizer and pesticide pollution.

Tsinghua University, which has undertaken a project for reducing fertilizer and pesticide pollution, will provide technology by late next year that will slash fertilizer and pesticide pollutants, according to Chen Jining, a researcher with the university's Environmental Science Department.

Chen said the university's technology is also expected to help reduce water pollution in other major rivers and lakes throughout the country.

The Kunming-based Aquatic Organism Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is leading the effort to control blue-green algae, said its director Liu Yongding in a telephone interview.

Liu said experimental technology has been tried in a 667-hectare area of Dianchi and has proven effective.

The comprehensive technology, to be completed in three years, can also be applied in rivers and lakes in other regions, said Liu.

China's efficiency in treating domestic wastewater is less than 20 percent on average, much lower than the average 80 percent in some developed countries, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.

"Our efficiency in wastewater treatment is expected to reach an average of 45 percent by 2005, and even 60 percent in cities with populations of more than 500,000," said Sun.

The country faces a shortage of water resources and serious pollution has worsened the problem.

Over the past decade, some 70 percent of rivers and lakes across the country have been polluted. Among the 139 major reservoirs, 21 have failed to meet the state-set standards of water quality because of pollution.

In some urban areas, sources of drinking water have been threatened by random discharges of industrial or other wastes.

It is urgent for water purification plants to develop technologies to extract trace elements of organic chemical pollutants, which could be harmful to people's health, said Sun.

(China Daily May 8, 2002)

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Ministry of Science and Technology
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