Water quality in China poses challenges as water is generally unsafe for residents to drink. However, a clean and safer future lies ahead with the promise of reduced pollution, increased filtration and clean drinking water.
Current State of China’s Water
As of July 2021, 70% of China’s rivers and lakes were not safe for human utilization. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic restricted movement and led to lockdowns during 2020, water quality in China has seen significant improvements. For example, PH levels increased from mid-March to early May 2020.
Economic Impact of Water Systems
Unsafe water systems negatively impact the fishing and marine business inside of China. Pollution can decrease PH levels and make water toxic for fish and other sea life, which is essential for a strong marine business. Fifty-three coastal cities in China provided data from the years 1994 to 2018, describing the damage that pollution caused in agriculture and industrial businesses in China.
“As the main source of high-quality proteins in China, the yield of seawater cultured products reached 20.65 million tons in 2019, accounting for about 31.8% of the total aquatic products. Meanwhile, the proportion of seawater fishing products has decreased to about 18.7%,” according to the study.
Water is essential to the survival of an entire country. Low PH, pollution and other dangerous contaminants can damage ecosystems. This causes a ripple effect that impacts the livelihood of citizens, wildlife and the overall economic structure of a country. Fishermen need a safe work environment to catch and sell fish. The marine economy plays an important role in the nation’s growth and clean drinking water is necessary for the health of a nation.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes. Improved water supply and sanitation and better management of water resources, can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction.”
Plans to Improve China’s Water Quality
In December 2021, the World Bank approved a $400 million loan for decontamination and removal of pollutants in China’s Yangtze River Basin. This, along with $6 billion of China’s own resources will go toward water treatment for the 19 provinces in China and almost 600 million people who receive water from this basin.
The Yangtze River Protection and Ecological Restoration Program aims to improve water quality in China. This will support agriculture, livestock and waste management for townships. Approved in 2022, the latest update shows the beginning of a groundbreaking project.
Public participation in the management of water is beneficial. The University of California wrote an article showing a decrease of 19% in pollutant levels in quarterly reports that became possible with the help of Chinese citizens. Citizens collected data twice a month.
The Future of China’s Water
Water quality in China may not be at its best right now, but the positive feedback shows early signs of improvement inside the country. Baiyangdian, North China’s largest freshwater lake, received an upgrade to Class III in 2021, meaning that its surface water is of good quality. This is the lake’s best condition since the initial monitoring in 1988, with the classes ranging from a scale of between one and five.
Water has a significant place in the economy of China. Clean water is essential to promoting a steady marine market, economy and livelihood for all citizens in China.
– Kyle Swingle
Photo: Px Here