Study: 73 per cent of largest Chinese cities' watersheds polluted

At least one-third of China's lakes and rivers are unfit for human use and 73 per cent of watersheds supplying water to the 30 largest cities have medium to high pollution levels, according to a study released Monday.Land use and degradation from fertilizers, pesticides and livestock waste account for about half the pollution at 135 surface water sites tested, according to research from The Nature Conservancy, an environmental protection group.China contains only 7 per cent of the world's freshwater, meaning it can draw from less freshwater supplies per capita annually than most countries, the report said.The group recommended targeted conservation strategies including forest protection and improving agricultural practices in key areas.If such methods were applied in 1.4 million hectares of land containing watersheds that supply water to the 30 largest cities, over 150 million people would benefit from a 10 per cent reduction in water pollution, the report said.The conservancy's findings are consistent with recently published government data on groundwater sources.A government study released last week found that 80 per cent of groundwater in the mainland's major river basins is unsafe for human contact.The survey by the Ministry of Water Resources covered nearly 4,900 sites in 202 cities and 18 provinces across the country.Nearly half of sites tested were found to have "extremely bad" water quality and around a third had "bad" water quality, with no wells providing "excellent" water quality.Incidents of water contamination have increased over the past several years, with more than 1,700 cases reported annually and at least 140 million people affected, according to the official China Daily.  

Last update: Mon, 18/04/2016 - 13:19
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