China's Water Pollution Twice the Officially Listed Levels


Photo credit: eutrophication&hypoxia; via Flickr/CC BY

A recent report from Reuters reveals some disturbing news about China: the water pollution levels recorded in the official reports were found to be merely half the actual levels. Meaning that China's water pollution is literally twice as bad as its government claimed it was in 2007. Reuters has the report:

A new Chinese government survey of the country's environmental problems has shown water pollution levels in 2007 were more than twice the government's official estimate, largely because agricultural waste was ignored.

The data, presented by Vice Environment Protection Minister Zhang Lijun, revives persistent questions about the quality of Chinese official statistics and the effectiveness of a government push for cleaner growth after decades of unbridled expansion.

We've long known that agriculture waste has played a huge roll in China's water pollution, and that pesticides play a major factor. But this revelation reveals not only a breathtaking environmental problem, but a serious issue in the Chinese government's record keeping--or perhaps more likely, its candidness with the Chinese people. Which, of course, has also long been known to be a major issue in China.


Photo credit: eutrophication&hypoxia; via Flickr/CC BY

The Chinese people deserve to know how polluted their bodies of water are--those that they often get drinking water from. And what's worse, it appears that the Chinese government attempted to make claims to the contrary--saying they were cleaning up water sources when in fact the pollution levels were rising. Here's Reuters:

The first national census on pollution sources found that discharge of "chemical oxygen demand" (COD) -- a measure of water pollution -- in wastewater was 30.3 million metric tons, Zhang said. The government had said in an official paper published two years ago that 2007 was the first year it managed to reduce water pollution, with COD falling 3 percent to 13.8 million metric tons
Finally, to make matters even worse, there's even more environmental data obtained from the census that the government is considering not releasing at all--deeming it too sensitive and potentially embarrassing.

More on China's Water
Big Water Trouble in Leaky China
Dark Cloud Over China's Water

Related Content on