Beijing: China has admitted that it is facing a grave environmental situation with high pollution levels in seven of its major rivers and coastal seawaters, leaving a "severely unsafe" underground water supply.
According to the country`s latest environmental assessment report, released by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection yesterday, toxic metal pollutants had rendered underground and surface water supply "severely unsafe."
"We have entered a period when sudden incidents impacting the environment or pollution accidents are occurring frequently and when environmental pollution is daily causing social contradictions," said Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection.
During the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), the country will give priority to environment issues involving drinking water, air pollution, heavy metal pollution and soil pollution, Li said
Although the overall water quality of the Yangtze and Pearl rivers was fairly good, five other rivers remain highly polluted, state-run Xinhua news agency said, quoting the report.
Unsafe underground water, frequent lead poisoning incidents and escalating damage to environmental protection zones are all testing the country`s fragile environment, it said.
The report also said that more than half of China`s cities are affected by acid rain. About 40 percent of major rivers are so polluted that the water can only be used for industrial purposes or landscaping and about 16 per cent of the total is unfit for agricultural irrigation, it said.
Many of the country`s lakes and reservoirs are also polluted, the report said, adding that 42.3 percent of the 26 lakes and reservoirs under monitoring was in a state of eutrophication.