• China takes steps to curb illegal wastewater discharges
    Illegal wastewater discharges have caused widespread contamination in China


China takes steps to curb illegal wastewater discharges

Mar 27 2014

China is set to start cracking down on companies that are illegally dumping wastewater and causing widespread contamination. Premier Li Keqiang announced to a special State Council meeting on reducing emissions and saving energy that a "heavy blow" will be dealt to those companies that have continued to dispose of wastewater in an illegal way.

According to remarks posted on the council's website on March 24th, Mr Li said that the government is ready to take a harsher line with companies that have continued to break the law and have not taken into account their "basic social responsibility". Action will also be taken on local officials that have failed to properly police wastewater discharge activities of businesses. 

Due to contamination and water pollution, only around 47.4 per cent of China's surface water - including water within reservoirs, lakes and rivers - meets with the country's quality standards. This means that less than half of China's water is suitable for use under functional zoning - industrial water, drinking water, landscaping water and agricultural water - according to vice minister of Ministry and Water Resources (MWR), Jiao Yong. 

New discharge limits are to be put in place that will stop companies discharging vast amounts of wastewater, which could help to lessen future contamination. According to Mr Jiao, the MWR will also be ensuring that local governments deal with issues of water pollution as early as possible, in order to avoid public protests.

A pilot programme is also set to be put in place that will lead to a system of "three red lines". The lines will be one each for total wastewater discharges, total water consumption and water efficiency targets. Mr Jiao said that so far around 700 counties and 95 per cent of China's cities have created plans to meet with these three lines.

It is hoped that this new crackdown will help to curb the problem of water pollution in China before it gets any worse. Water contamination has been a growing worry for the nation, especially as reports have suggested contaminated water is causing issues with crops.

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