China's Water Pollution Census Consensus: Dirty

There was a big story a couple weeks ago in China; the most comprehensive survey of pollution in China was released, and it showed a far worse picture of water health than previously estimated. This first national pollution census revealed that China’s water was twice as polluted as previously thought.

The main reason for the big difference was obvious; for the first time, officials included agricultural runoff, which is often loaded with pesticides, fertilizers and heavy metals. Here’s a good quote from the article (Chinese Pollution Census Reveals Greater Reach of Water Contamination – NYTimes.com):

…government planners had estimated that the country’s rivers and lakes could handle only 7.4 million tons a year of chemical oxygen demand. The scale and significance of agricultural effluent was seldom recognized in previous government planning, which focused on bringing down mainly industrial emissions to around 7 million tons a year from 13.8 million tons, said Mr. Ma, a leading expert on water pollution in China.

The new total of more than 30 million tons suggests a much bigger problem. “We believed we needed to cut our emissions in half, but today’s data means a lot more work needs to be done,” Mr. Ma said.

Why Do I Post This?

Well, from my family/community doctor perspective, this study highlights again the increasing dangers of China’s water, and I always am concerned about food safety, especially fish.


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