300 million Chinese lack access to clean water

China is heading for a water pollution crisis as a booming economy raises industrial discharges and the number of incidents of toxic chemicals being spilled into rivers rises, a top environmental regulator has said, according to an AP article I found on China Daily:

More than 300 million people in rural China already lack access to water considered clean enough to drink, said Pan Yue, deputy minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration.

China has recorded 70 pollution incidents in rivers since a chemical plant accident in November poisoned the Songhua River in the northeast and forced a major city to temporarily shut down its drinking water system, Pan said.


More details in this article, that quotes Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration who said that more than half of China's 21,000 chemical companies are near the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, which provide drinking water for tens of millions of people, and accidents could lead to "disastrous consequences."

The fact that this problem is acknowledged officially is very interesting, and seems to indicate that the Chinese government is getting seriously concerned about the issue...

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