China's water quality improved slightly last year though the situation was still grave, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a statement yesterday.
The quality of the water sampled in 55 percent of 409 monitoring stations set up along 200 rivers, including the Yangtze and the Yellow rivers, fell into levels I to III last year, up from 49.9 percent in 2007, the statement said.
China classifies water quality in major rivers and lakes into six levels, ranging from level I, which is good for drinking, to level VI, which is too polluted for any purpose.
Levels I to III means water quality is okay for drinking, aquatic breeding, fisheries and swimming.
According to the document, 24.2 percent of the samples fell into levels IV and V, which are alright for industrial use and farm irrigation, down from 26.5 percent in 2007.
And 20.8 percent of the samples were ranked level VI, down from 23.6 percent.
The ministry attributed the progress to more investment in pollution control and tougher penalties for polluters.
(Shanghai Daily July 31, 2009)