December 29, 2005

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In China, Evian is not "Naive" spelled backwards

There used to be an old joke floating around that people who paid money for bottled water from Evian were silly and that it was nothing more than a way for the manufacturers to call people "Naive" (Evian spelled backwards). Well, that could be, but not in China. There, it could be the difference between life or death.

Apparently the deputy director of China's State Environmental Protection Administration has admitted the underground water in 90 percent of China's cities are polluted:

The underground water in 90 percent of Chinese cities is polluted, China's environmental bureau said Wednesday, sparking concerns over the safety of drinking water for most of the 1.3-billion-strong population.

The deputy director of the State Environmental Protection Administration Zhang Lijun described the situation as "serious," China News Service said.

China is slowly starting to count the environmental cost of two decades of stellar economic growth, with industrial and human pollutants finding their way into the ecosystem.

"A survey showed that underground water in 90 percent of Chinese cities has been polluted by organic and inorganic pollutants, and there are signs that (the pollution) is spreading," it reported.

The pollution is generally caused by industrial waste from factories or untreated human waste discharged into rivers and then seeping into the ground.

Underground water is the source of drinking water for nearly 70 percent of China's population and is the source of some 40 percent of the country's agricultural irrigation, the report said.

It said the water pollution, which was worst in northern cities, was causing direct economic looses of tens of billion of yuan, or billions of dollars, not to mention "countless" indirect losses.

"In the next 25 years, China's water situation will face enormous pressure under a new round of economic growth," the report quoted Zhang as saying.

"It will be a key period as to whether (we) can limit the deterioration of water quality," he said.

This is far worse than the benzene spill a few weeks ago because it affects much more of the country's population and it's not like you can just filter the ground water as easily as you can that coming out of the river.

As the article states, there are also huge economic repercussions as a result of the pollution and it's only going to get worse as China continues to move forward with its modernization process while neglecting its responsibility to the environment.

The environment will suffer, the economy will suffer and in the end the people will suffer the most.

posted by Gordon on 12.29.05 at 02:11 PM in the Environment category.


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So, we Harbiners, can or cannot drink the bloody water? I'm waiting...

posted by: chinochano on 12.30.05 at 04:54 AM [permalink]

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