Mineral water festival held in Baishan
A city in Northeast China has been labelled one of the world's leading mineral water resources.
Baishan, in Jilin Province, was on Wednesday named "International Mineral Water City" by the International Foundation for the Protection of Drinking Water.
The nomination ceremony was held at the opening of China's first mineral water festival.
Grant Hoskins, vice-chairman of the foundation, said Baishan had been named by the foundation as one of the largest mineral water resources in the world.
The foundation has sent experts to assess Baishan's mineral water sources twice since 2002. "We conclude that Baishan's natural mineral water is of extremely high quality, considerable in quantity, rich in mineral content and in a pristine, untouched natural environment that arguably rivals any other similar region in the world," said Hoskins.
At the foot of the Changbai Mountains, Baishan stores 8 billion cubic metres of water. The area is 83 per cent covered by forest.
There are nearly 200 mineral water source sites in the area, from which 200,000 cubic metres of water are drawn each day. Two major Chinese drinking water companies, the Wahaha and Nongfu Spring, have had factories in Baishan since the late 1990s. Even so, no more than 1 per cent is used.
The Nongfu Spring branch company in Jingyu County is bottling water from a spring called "Cuocao Spring," which gushes up 35,000 tons a day. The company produces just 50,000 tons a year, said Li Dexiang, vice- general manager of the Yung San Tong Group, which registered the Nongfu Spring.
"We are interested in the mineral water resources in Baishan. Our Science and Technology Ministry is contacting the foundation and is looking for opportunities to co-operate with Baishan in its mineral water development," said Wayne Mapp, a congressman of New Zealand who attended the festival.
The Baishan Government sees protection of water sources as a priority along with development plans and projects. It has been co-operating with the foundation in establishing a "Mineral Water Nature Reserve" and the "Changbai Mountains Mineral Water Sustainable Resource Development Model Area." The future development of the natural mineral water resources of Baishan will be in accordance with internationally recognized principles of sustainable environmental development, said Hoskins.
Themed "mineral water of Baishan, the source of health," the festival runs until today. An international forum on mineral water protection and utilization was held and visits arranged to the mineral water sites and drinking water enterprises in the city during the festival. Experts and company representatives from countries like the United States, Japan, Australia, Germany and Russia gave speeches at the forum and visited the sites.
Other regions approved by the foundation include the Alps and the North Caucasus.