China has launched a survey of drinking water and hygiene in the rural areas this month, aiming to improve rural environment and living quality of farmers.
The current data of rural drinking water and environment has been out of date due to changes in the countryside these years, according to the Ministry of Health.
The survey aims to investigate the current quality of drinking water, renovation of toilets, processing of excrement and wastes and waste water in the rural areas.
It expects to help formulate guidelines for improving rural drinking water safety and provide information for renovating rural toilets and curb environmental pollution.
The survey will be conducted from August 2006 to May 2007 in 31 provinces, regions and cities and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corp, under direct leadership of vice Health Minister Wang Longde.
There are still at least 300 million rural residents in China who have no access to safe and clean drinking water, and only 31 percent of rural toilet reach hygienic standards, according to the Ministry of Health.
Most of the rural areas have no waste water processing facilities or proper collection of garbage. Public awareness of hygiene is low too, causing spread of infectious diseases and endemics in some places.
The last nationwide survey in drinking water and water-related illness was conducted from 1983 to 1988. Surveillance of drinking water in the rural areas started in 1992.
(Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2006)