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