China's overall environmental situation is still "serious" with frequent pollution accidents affecting the quality of life for many people, said a report released by the environment watchdog on Monday.
China's investment in pollution control hit a record 256.78 billion yuan (US$34.24 billion) in 2006, up 7.5 percent year-on-year and accounting for 1.23 percent of the annual GDP, according to the report.
However, despite the increase, "China is under increasing pressure to cope with environmental pollution", said the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) report, which tries to provide an overview of the nation's environmental situation in 2006.
Last year, 842 pollution accidents were reported, including 482 water pollution cases, 232 air pollution cases, 45 cases caused by solid waste, 10 in the ocean and six involving noise and vibration damage.
The mainland saw discharges of sulfur dioxide in 2006 reaching 25.89 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 1.5 percent, the report said.
A total of 53.68 billion tons of waste water was discharged, up 2.3 percent from the previous year. Discharges of industrial waste water fell by 1.1 percent, while those of domestic sewage shot up by 5.8 percent.
Frequent water pollution incidents have made it into the news in recent years.
In September last year, two chemical plants in central China's Hunan Province illegally discharged a highly toxic arsenic compound into a tributary of China's second largest freshwater lake, Dongting Lake, leading to the suspension of water supplies to at least 80,000 local residents for a week.
And a severe algae outbreak in the Taihu Lake at the end of May this year rendered tap water undrinkable for a week for half of the 2.3 million residents in Wuxi, a city in eastern Jiangsu Province.