Water quality low in central Guangzhou, even after treatment

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 March, 2007, 12:00am

Almost 3 million residents of Guangzhou's city centre are drinking water from such polluted sources that even after treatment the quality is low.

This was disclosed in a study that showed five of the provincial capital's eight plants are treating water contaminated by heavy metals, chemicals and other pollutants.

South China Agriculture University professor Chen Riyuan , who carried out the study for the province's top advisory body, said that although the water from the Liuxi River met safety standards, alternative sources should be found.

He has recommended that the city tap the relatively cleaner Xi and Bei rivers instead.

The five plants mentioned in Professor Chen's study - conducted for the Population, Resources and Environment Commission of the Guangdong Political People's Consultative Conference (GPPCC) - supply about 2.67 million people in Guangzhou 's Liwan and Yuexiu districts and parts of Baiyun and Haizhu.

The river is so polluted it does not even reach Grade 3 - two levels below water considered clean enough for human consumption. It has high levels of ammonia, fluoride, faecal coliform bacteria and heavy metals.

Meanwhile, villagers in Huadu district have asked the health department for medical check-ups after finding they had been drinking water contaminated by the body of a three-year-old girl who went missing in December. The corpse was found on Thursday in a water storage tank which supplies nearly 500 residents.