Safe water promised for Olympics

By Xie Chuanjiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-10 06:55

Athletes and visitors to the Beijing Olympics' central area will be able to access safe drinking water straight from the tap, instead of having to rely on bottled supplies, Bi Xiaogang, the vice-director of the Beijing Water Authority, has promised.

"Facilities to provide safe drinking water within a 2.91- sq-km area, encompassing the Bird's Nest and the Olympic Green, will be completed in the first half of next year," Bi said at a press conference yesterday.

In addition, the department is working to renovate and upgrade its 2,000-plus water supply facilities across the city to provide safe tap water for all Beijing residents.

"There is nothing wrong with the water coming out of the plants," Bi said.

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"It is the distance it has to travel through old pipes to get to people's homes that affects the quality."

Bi said that in recent years, progress had been made to clean up rivers and lakes in the city so that the Games' organizers can ensure "an ecological water environment for a green, hi-tech and people's Olympics".

Within the sixth ring road there are 52 rivers with a total length of 520 km.

"By the end of the year all 52 rivers will have been cleaned, so that we can say our rivers have crystal clear water, green banks and can even be used for sailing," Bi said.

This year, Beijing will complete the construction of five major wastewater treatment plants, taking the total number of large-scale plants to 14.

A further 14 medium-sized plants in suburban areas have already been built and the construction of 216 small-scale plants will commence soon.

At the end of last year the country's wastewater treatment rate had reached 70 percent, with 962 million cubic m of water being safely treated. In downtown Beijing, the rate was 90 percent, with 780 million cubic m of water treated.

Beijing has adopted biolo-gical measures in its water purification efforts, including the use of organisms such as fry, spiral shells, mussels and clams to clean rivers.

"We have harnessed nearly 100 km of 10 rivers by applying such bio-concepts in recent years," Bi said.

This city has vowed to improve water quality still further this year.

(China Daily 05/10/2007 page4)

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