News Feature | May 27, 2014

China Battles Illegal Wastewater Discharges

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


Chinese officials say the government wants to crack down on companies that illegally discharge wastewater. 

The country hopes to deal a "heavy blow" to these polluters, Bloomberg BNA reported, citing Premier Li Keqiang. 

Li put local government officials on notice, as well. He said "the government would 'crack down hard' on such activities by businesses and on local officials who have 'ignored basic social responsibility and legal liability' by failing to provide adequate oversight of wastewater discharge activities of companies in their jurisdictions," according to Bloomberg.

China faces an uphill battle when it comes to cleaning up its waters. "Only 47.4 percent of the surface water in the country's lakes, rivers and reservoirs can meet water quality standards that make it usable under its functional zoning, Jiao Yong, vice minister of Ministry of Water Resources (MWR)," said in the report. 

Polluted water poses a threat to agriculture in China. "It is hoped that this new crackdown will help to curb the problem of water pollution in China before it gets any worse. Water contamination has been a growing worry for the nation, especially as reports have suggested contaminated water is causing issues with crops," Environmental Technology Online reported.  

A new report shows that farmland is severely contaminated. "Faced with growing public anger about a poisonous environment, China’s government released a years-long study that shows nearly one-fifth of the country’s farmland is contaminated with toxic metals, a stunning indictment of unfettered industrialization under the Communist Party’s authoritarian rule," the Associated Press reported this month. 

"The report, previously deemed so sensitive it was classified as a state secret, names the heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic as the top contaminants," the report said. 

Wastewater discharges are just one front in China's battle against pollution. "China’s energy-hungry, high-polluting industries continued to grow too fast last year, putting huge pressures on the environment and causing air quality to worsen, the country’s pollution agency said," Today reported

"Only three out of 74 Chinese cities fully complied with state pollution standards last year," the report said, citing government officials. 

Check out Water Online's Wastewater Treatment Solution Center.

Image credit: "Morning Haze (Tianjin, China)," © 2010 ~MVI~ (warped), used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license:

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