China's environment close to 'breakdown'

Updated: 2007-07-04 22:38

China's environment is close to breaking point and the situation is endangering people's lives, one of the nation's top anti-pollution officials said in comments published Wednesday.

Pan Yue, an outspoken vice minister at the State Environmental Protection Administration, said campaigns to clean-up the environment were going backwards because the country's primary focus continued to be on economic growth.

"Pursuit of short-term goals is leading to ever increasing pollution despite various measures," Pan said.

"Traditional ways of development have caused the near breakdown of China's resources and environment, and people's lives are in great danger."

His comments come as dumped industrial waste forced drinking water to be cut off for 200,000 residents in eastern China's Jiangsu province.

A factory had been dumping hazardous levels of ammonia and other chemicals into a river, forcing the suspension of water supplies to residents in Shuyang county, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 70 percent of China's waterways and 90 percent of its underground water are contaminated by pollution, according to previous government reports.

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