U.S. Water News Online
BEIJING -- China has adopted a tougher national standard
for drinking water that health officials said will be a step toward
providing safe drinking water to the hundreds of millions of citizens
who currently go without safe water.
The previous drinking water standard did not adequately protect
people, and the new standard will raise the quality of tap water,
Health Ministry official Zhang Chengyu said.
"In some of China's cities, the water supply has been contaminated
and residents are threatened with unsafe water," Zhang said.
Health officials hope the new drinking water standard will change
The Health Ministry announced it will add 71 new benchmarks to the
35 required under the previous standard, which was adopted in 1985.
About a quarter of China's population lacks access to safe
drinking water, and despite repeated government pledges of a cleanup,
the situation is worsening.
China's three-decade economic boom has left its waterways and
coastlines severely polluted by industrial and farm chemicals and
domestic sewage. Its countryside is littered with garbage and
construction waste, and its cities suffocated by smog.
Separately, Beijing recorded the worst air quality for June in the
past seven years, missing benchmarks for cleaning up smog, the
Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection reported on its
Beijing's filthy air is one of the biggest concerns of the
International Olympic Committee and 2008 Olympic organizers, who
worry the performance of elite athletes will be hampered.
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