Despite its high-tech industry and rapidly growing economy, China is unfortunately also known for its poor water quality. In order to address the environmental implications of these water conditions, 8,000 clean water projects in China have been successfully launched since the start of 2017.
The announcement of the success of nearly 8,000 clean water projects came from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) when they launched the projects at the beginning of the year. This plan to combat water pollution began in 2015, when 343 contaminated groundwater sites were identified and slated for improvement by the government.
The Chinese government promised to improve major waterways as well as to treat wastewater from industrial activities like mining and oil refining. Some areas of land have since been protected from animal husbandry and similar activities and government officials are now held more accountable for the water quality in their respective regions.
According to the report from the MEP, about 95 percent of the sites identified have been improved since the start of the project. However, officials did note that the water quality in some regions – Hebei, Shanxi, Liaoning and Anhui – had not received the proper attention.
Water pollution has long been a persistent problem in China. In 2015, 60 percent of groundwater and one-third of surface water was considered to be unfit for human contact by the environment ministry. Water deemed unfit for human contact is often relegated to industrial or agricultural purposes, such as irrigation.
For a population as large as China’s, the lack of available drinking water poses serious complications. The country simply does not have enough water to sustain a population of over one billion people. This is due – in part – to a lack of environmental regulation, however, the industrialization that has overtaken Chinese cities has also dominated much of the water supply.
The clean water projects in China demonstrate the government’s recognition of the importance of combating water scarcity. As a whole, these projects have cost the Chinese government 667.4 billion Yuan or $100 billion U.S. However, these are not the only costly environmental expenditures recently made by the Chinese government.
The Chinese government has also allocated money to solar installations and alternative energy sources in an effort to move away from fossil fuels. This, as well as the implementation of the clean water projects, is part of a greater move toward more environmentally friendly policies and practices. China’s commitment to its environmental goals is a promising look at the future of this flourishing country.
– Jennifer Faulkner