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Half of China’s Groundwater Below Standard



Over 30 percent of China’s rivers and over 50 percent of its groundwater sources do not meet water quality standards, according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Ministry.

The 2012 China Environmental Bulletin, released last week, found that total emission of pollutants had decreased compared to the previous year. However, this has not translated into an improvement in environmental quality.

Samples from the nearly 5,000 groundwater monitoring points in 198 cities showed that 42.7 percent had water quality considered “excellent” or better. Water quality in the other 57.3 percent of samples was “poor” or worse.

The ministry said it was “not optimistic about the aspects of quality and quantity” of water resources. In particular, it expressed concern that environmental problems in rural areas are growing.

For example, pollution from mining is becoming more serious, while pollution from household waste and livestock is also increasing.

Ma Zhong, dean of the environment science faculty of Renmin University, said much of the country’s water pollution is related to excessive sewage discharges.

Although China has now taken steps to control chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen in wastewater, “reduction of several percentages per year can never be said to be enough,” Ma said.