Local residents fish in a polluted river in Beijing on March 29. Retrieved from: www.theepochtimes.com
“The overall environmental situation in China is very grim with all seven major river systems polluted, according to Li Ganjie, Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, speaking at a press conference on June 3 to discuss the Report of the State of the Environment of China (2010).
However, Li refused to comment on recent discussion among the general public that the severity of the current drought is due to the Three Gorges Dam.
Li said the surface water pollution across the country is still relatively grave. China uses a six-grade classification scheme for water quality. Grade 1 is the best, water no worse than grade 3 can be used for drinking, but sometimes requirestreatment, and water worse than grade 5 cannot be used for irrigation.
Of 204 rivers and 209 monitoring points, 59.9 percent of rivers were grade 3 or better, 23.7 percent of rivers were grade 4 or 5, and 16.4 percent failed to meet any grade standard.
The seven major water systems are the Yangtze River, the Yellow River, the Pearl River, the Songhua River, the Huai River, the Hai River, and the Liao River. Overall, the average pollution level is minor, but the Yellow River and Liao River have medium pollution, while Huai River is heavily polluted.
Eutrophication of lakes (reservoirs) is still a prominent problem—an excess of nutrients, for example from fertilizer runoff, causes algal bloom and subsequent problems such as hypoxia or lack of oxygen. Eutrophication was found in 11 of the 26 water bodies tested.
This year, the lower portion of the Yangtze River was hit with the worst drought in 50 years, causing problems for fisheries in the Jiangsu, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, and Hunan Provinces, and leaving many people without drinking water.
Li admitted that the Hubei, Hunan, and Jiangxi Provinces are currently experiencing severe drought, where water levels are at their lowest position in several large lakes, including Poyang Lake, Dongting Lake, and Hong Lake. This is a problem that has occurred very rarely in recent decades.”
Read more: The Epoch Times