A growing number of the Chinese population is finding itself without access to clean, drinkable water, new data shows.
According to an April 23 Times of India article, 60% of China’s officially-monitored groundwater is too polluted to drink. The clean water shortage is another indicator of China’s continuing environmental problems.
The Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources, which monitors water quality at 4,778 locations in 203 cities, reported that 43.9% of the country’s groundwater was of “relatively poor” quality, and requires treatment before it can be consumed by humans. The Ministry of Land and Resources rated the other 15.7% of monitored groundwater “very poor,” meaning the water is unfit for consumption even after treatment, according to a upi.com article.
The decades-long economic boom that has taken place in China has come with a severe cost to the country’s environment. Smog blankets large parts of the country and both land and water are polluted with toxic chemicals. The Times of India reported that civilian unrest with China’s environmental deterioration has sparked occasional protests.
In the western city of Lanzhou, which has a population of about 3.6 million, excessive amounts of the toxic chemical benzene were discovered in the local tap water in early April, according to upi.com. In 2012, a chemical spill at a fertilizer factory resulted in a shutdown of the city of Handan’s water supply — a city of more than 1 million people.
Many Chinese people who live in the cities already avoid drinking their water from the tap and choose to either boil their tap water or exclusively drink bottled water — the latter of which causes a slew of other environmental concerns.
“The United States, the Charleston, West Virginia chemical spill in early 2014 January, brought attention to this important matter. At Brondell, we suggest that everyone filter their home personal water as a precaution. When it comes to you health, it’s an extra step that’s 100% worth it,” says Shar Caesar, Marketing Manager at Brondell.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang publicly stated in March that the administration in Beijing was “declaring war” on pollution; however, experts believe that Beijing’s vested interests will make taking action difficult, according to the Times of India.
Regardless of how Beijing chooses to respond to China’s rampant environmental concerns, it’s clear that something must be done to give access to drinkable water to its people.