Tap water falls short of standard
Pearl River Delta
Samples from tap-water sources in Guangzhou and Shenzhen failed to meet provincial potable water standards in the first half of this year, pointing to a lack of awareness about the need to protect water resources, mainland media have said.
The China News Service said only 72.5 per cent of tap water in Guangzhou and 94.9 per cent in Shenzhen met provincial standards, according to an investigation by the Provincial People's Congress.
The investigation found that other Guangdong cities' tap water met provincial standards, and that Guangzhou's acceptable tap water had increased 2.8 per cent since last year, and Shenzhen's 11.7 per cent in the same period.
But with many high-polluting and labour-intensive Pearl River Delta factories relocating to less developed areas over the past two years as part of a provincial industrial restructuring programme, environmental experts are concerned that more water resources might become contaminated.
The investigators concluded that a lack of awareness about the need to protect water resources was the main obstacle to keeping tap water clean.
Guang Yaoqiu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou, said this lack of awareness extended to local officials and was the reason many people in Guangzhou had given up drinking tap water many years ago.
'I've drunk only bottled water since 2000,' Mr Guang said. 'There are many people like me. We use tap water only for washing.'
He said as the provincial government encouraged polluting factories to move out of the delta into less-developed areas, the risk of water contamination increased.
'Contamination from domestic sewage and industrial discharge will grow as more workers work there and more sewage is released,' said Mr Guang.