China will tighten pollution controls over the next five years
in its campaign to provide safe drinking water to its populous
countryside, a top official said yesterday.
"Handling water challenges properly is not only strategically
important to China's modernization drive, but will also contribute
to global sustainable development," said Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan at the opening of the World Water
Congress, a gathering in Beijing of some 3,000 officials and
experts from around the world.
"The Chinese government pays great attention to water
conservation and protection, regarding it as a priority," Zeng
The government also plans to step up conservation, making
water-saving technologies mandatory and pushing for more use of
recycled water, the vice premier said.
The five-day water congress is to focus on water management and
environmental and health challenges, and include an exhibition of
new water and sewage technologies. The event is organized by the
London-based International Water Association and China's Ministry
China considers ensuring safe water supplies as the most
pressing environmental issue facing a country where 1.3 billion
people compete for supplies with booming industries.
Last month, the government said it will spend 1 trillion yuan
(US$125 billion) to improve water treatment and recycling by 2010
to fight the mounting threat of urban water pollution.
The government says some 340 million people, mostly in rural
areas, lack access to water clean enough to drink.
This summer, parts of southwestern China have been suffering
from the most severe drought in 50 years. Authorities say lack of
rain has left 18 million people without adequate drinking
China should put more emphasis on water conservation and
management, as well as stepping up controls on industrial
pollution, Zeng said.
"The substandard quality of drinking water exemplified by high
levels of fluorine and arsenic, brackish taste and other pollution
have been targeted," he said.
(Shanghai Daily September 11, 2006)