“Think the Air Pollution Is Bad? China Faces a Water Contamination Crisis”
Bloomberg Businessweek, November 19, 2014
“China’s hazardous smog is an in-your-face and choke-your-lungs kind of problem—hard to miss, particularly when air quality soars to severely polluted levels, as it did in Beijing today (Nov.19). But an equally dire environmental threat is the alarmingly low quality of China’s water resources. That was highlighted in an investigative report on China’s water crisis in the official Xinhua News Agency yesterday. Sixty percent of China’s groundwater, monitored at 4,778 sites across the country, is either ‘bad’ or ‘very bad,’ according to a survey by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Xinhua reported. Meanwhile, more than half, or 17 of China’s 31 major freshwater lakes, are polluted, at least slightly or moderately. The report said that 300 of China’s 657 major cities also face water shortages, according to the standard set by the United Nations. A particularly severe problem is the dearth of water in the North China region, including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin and the surrounding province of Hebei. Water per capita in that area amounts to only 286 cubic meters annually, much less than the 500 cubic meter minimum.”
Quickie Analysis: How long can 7% annual GDP growth be sustained without water?