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Over 80% of water tested in China's wells not safe to drink

File photo.

File photo.

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, April 11, 2016, 7:02 PM - More than 80 per cent of water from underground wells used by homes and businesses in densely-populated areas of China are unfit for drinking or bathing, according to new statistics reported by Chinese media Monday.

The data, taken from a survey of 2,130 underground wells, has raised concern among citizens and local environmentalists, many of who have been preoccupied with cleaning up China's heavily-polluted skies.

“People in the cities, they see air pollution every day, so it creates huge pressure from the public. But in the cities, people don’t see how bad the water pollution is,” Professor Dabo Guan of the University of East Anglia in Britain told the New York Times (NYT).

“They don’t have the same sense.”

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While the Chinese government has acknowledged water in some underground reserves is vulnerable to contamination due to industry practices, some researchers say more study needs to be done to determine how polluted the water really is.

Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing, notes the survey sampled water that was relatively close to the surface, but many cities get their water from hundreds of metres deeper.

The latest statistics found that 32.9 percent of wells tested had water that was 'Grade 4' quality, meaning it is only suitable for industrial uses. An additional 47.3 percent of the wells tested had water that was even worse, at Grade 5.

Common contaminants included manganese, fluoride and compounds used in fungicides. Some areas had water tainted with heavy metals.

Source: NYT


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