China is in the third year of its so-called “War on Pollution.” The campaign includes efforts to clean up the water supply, including groundwater.
Recently, the government reported significant progress.
As CGTN’s Frances Kuo reports, the moves could affect much of the population.
Rapid urbanization and severe water shortages are contributing to severe stress on China’s water quality.
That includes groundwater which accounts for 30 percent of the water usage in China’s urban areas, according to the Worldwatch Institute.
The nature of groundwater, which is slow-moving, makes it especially difficult to clean. To do so, not only does the water have to be purified, but the rock and soil through which it travels.
In 2015, the Ministry of Water Resources tested more than 2100 wells in the country’s major basins. They’re located in the Yangtze, Yellow, Huai and Hai Rivers.
The results said that about 80 percent of the groundwater in those regions was unsafe for human consumption.
China recently announced progress in its mission to clean up the supply. It’s built 90 percent of its groundwater monitoring stations across China. They include more than 20,000 stations – covering an area of 3.5 million square kilometers.
“When we advanced the national-level groundwater monitoring project, we also pay attention to the provincial groundwater monitoring projects,” Li Changqing of the China Geological Survey said. “We will provide them with technical standards, regulations and management methods in order to help them build provincial-level groundwater monitoring networks.”
China also plans to ban the production of mercury products and mining of the metal. China is the world’s biggest miner and mercury consumer. The metal is toxic and possibly carcinogenic, when it enters groundwater and food.
Villagers in northern Hebei Province are watching government efforts closely. The local government has yet to put a plan in place to draw water from other regions.
Residents have no choice but to drink polluted water, so efforts on any level are welcome.
Kari Fulton discusses groundwater pollution in China
CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke with Kari Fulton, an environmental advocate, about groundwater pollution problem in China.