Water quality in rivers and a lake bordering China and Russia will be jointly monitored by the two countries following the signing of an agreement on Wednesday. .
According to the agreement, the two countries will jointly record the water quality of the Argun, Heilong, Wusuli and Suifen rivers and Xingkai Lake between 2007 and 2010.
The move follows last year's heavy pollution of northeast China's Songhua River which flows into the Heilong River and is called the Amur River in Russia and borders the two countries.
The pollution caused by a chemical plant explosion in the upper waters of the Songhua threatened the water supply of millions of residents along the river in China. Since then the two countries have been in talks on how to effectively protect water quality with the establishment of a committee consisting of officials from China's State Environmental Protection Administration and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources.
The agreement was signed at the end of the first meeting of the committee which opened on Tuesday. Meetings will be held annually alternating between the two countries.
The water boundary between China and Russia stretches for around 3,600 kilometers. In late February this year the State Environmental Protection Administration of China and the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russia signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing pledging to conduct joint monitoring of rivers and other stretches of water along the lengthy border.
(Xinhua News Agency, China.org.cn June 1, 2006)