One quarter of the Chinese population is drinking unclean water, said a report released on Monday by one of the country's environmental non-government organizations.
The Green Book of the Environment released by the Beijing-based Friends of Nature said that at least 320 million Chinese were risking their health by drinking unclean water, most of whom live in the country's rural areas.
The report, citing statistics from the Environmental Monitoring of China, said 34 percent of the country's 800 million rural residents were drinking unclean water in 2006.
"About 70 percent of China's rivers are polluted and 96 percent of rural villages do not have adequate sewage plants. These two factors together pose huge threats to the health of the Chinese rural population," said Yang Dongping, vice president of Friends of Nature and chief editor of the Green Book of the Environment.
Earlier this month, the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources pledged to invest 32 billion yuan (about US$4 billion) over the next ten years to ensure that 300 million rural residents, mainly those in the western regions, have clean water to drink.
The Ministry of Water Resources will also cooperate closely with the State Environmental Protection Administration to prevent water pollution in rural areas.
(Xinhua News Agency March 14, 2007)