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Tap quality: Shanghai targets water
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Shanghai water is expected to be safe to drink straight from the tap by the end of next year.

The breakthrough would be realized with completion of construction on the biggest reservoir in Shanghai and a new pipe network, city officials told a news conference yesterday that focused on environmental protection.

In an effort to build a green Shanghai, the city also plans to adopt a National IV emission standard for new vehicle licensing in October next year.

Application documentation had been sent to the national government for approval, the officials said.

Fang Fang, deputy director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, said the Qingcaosha Reservoir, close to Chongming Island at the mouth of Yangtze River, would bring a cleaner and larger water supply.

"At present the Huangpu River accounts for 70 to 80 percent of the city's water resources," she said. "Better-quality water from the Yangtze River will become the major supplier of water after the completion of the reservoir.''

The reservoir will filter the water from the Yangtze. Following a series of processes, the water quality will reach standards set for 2010 when the city hosts the World Expo.

Since embarking on the first Three-Year Environmental Protection Action Plan in 2000, the city has continued to invest 3 percent of its annual GDP in environmental protection annually. So far, the total investment is more than 180 billion yuan (US$26.28 billion).

The city has reduced its major pollutants in air and water by cutting sulfur dioxide by 2.96 percent and chemical oxygen demand, or COD, by 3.16 percent last year compared to 2005. Sulfur dioxide is a major pollutant in the air - an extremely irritating gas which causes various human ailments. COD is a key scientific measure showing the degree of pollution in water.

To become an environmental-protection model city before 2010, Shanghai will enhance its sewage-treatment system, waterway treatment and pollution control, and introduce scientific waste processing.

The agenda includes a research base for a poly-generation Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), a clean technology that removes impurities from coal gas before it is burnt.

Coal covers more than 90 percent of Shanghai's power source, and with it comes pollution and excess carbon dioxide.

Shanghai plans to reduce sulfur dioxide levels by 26 percent in 2010 compared to 2005 and cut its COD discharge to 25,900 tons, 15 percent lower than in 2005.

Yesterday, Fang also assured the public of fine air quality during the Olympic Games soccer matches in the city. "The air quality in July, August and September is best in Shanghai and August usually has the most days of any month with top air quality,'' she said.

In February, air-quality testing stations were set up around Shanghai Stadium, which will host the Olympic soccer events.

"They have started to supervise air quality in neighboring areas around the clock," Fang said. We also have emergency measures in place to respond to any situation."

(Shanghai Daily August 7, 2008)

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