Water quality to be improved

By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-06-06 06:54

GUANGZHOU: Officials from the environmental protection authority in South China's Guangdong Province pledged yesterday they will boost efforts to improve sewage facilities and impose strict environmental protection requirements on industrial firms to ensure better quality drinking water.

Chen Guangrong, deputy director of the Guangdong provincial environmental protection bureau, told a press conference that sources of drinking water in the province had been "relatively" under threat.

According to the 2006 Report on the State of Guangdong Provincial Environment, released yesterday, the quality rating of drinking water sources in the province stood at just 89.4 percent last year.

The province has 73 drinking water sources providing for 21 cities.

The quality rating dropped sharply to 84.3 percent in the first quarter of this year, sources with the bureau said.

"The quality of water sources in major cities, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shaoguan and Huizhou, has not been up to the national standard," Chen said.

The water quality rating in Guangzhou, the provincial capital city, was just 67.9 percent last year, the report said.

Water supplies at Guangzhou's five sources - Jiangcun, Shimen, Xicun, Bajiang and Xiuquan - were found to be have been seriously contaminated by heavy metals, chemicals and other industrial pollutants, the report said.

In Shenzhen, which had a water quality rating of 95.3 percent last year, the Shiyan and Luotian reservoirs have also been polluted by chemicals.

"Since most sources have been polluted by chemicals and other industrial waste, including high levels of ammonia, fluoride, fecal coliform bacteria and heavy metals, we will improve sewage management facilities," Chen said.

Meanwhile, Chen said the province would implement strict regulations on the approval processs for new companies looking to set up near water sources.

"All industrial companies, both existing and new, will be strictly required to meet the environmental protection standard. Otherwise, they will be forced to stop production," Chen said.

To this end, Guangdong has introduced a regional system for approving new industrial entities. It means that each city will be responsible for approving new industrial projects.

"The approvals should be based on strict environmental protection rules. In the past, a number of industrial corporations, which failed to meet the environmental protection requirement, were allowed to keep operating," Chen said.

(China Daily 06/06/2007 page4)

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