MUCH OF CHINA'S WATER STILL UNFIT TO DRINK AFTER BILLIONS SPENT ON CLEANUP
China plans to spend $850 billion on water improvement projects over the next decade, but efforts may do little to reverse damage caused by years of pollution and overuse. While the funding is necessary to fight the sewer discharge, chemical spills, and algae from fertilizer runoff caused by decades of rapid expansion, the nation's record of water cleanup indicates that the final amount needed may be much higher. From 2005 to 2010, China spent over $112 billion on water infrastructure, but the nation's water quality is still so poor that the environment ministry announced that 43 percent of locations it monitored in 2011 had water that was unfit for human contact. The government faces increasing pressure as anger over the winter's air quality has spread to demands to reduce water pollution. Some of the pressure is on local governments, and Shanghai has responded by promising to punish an electronics manufacturer for polluting a local river. Earlier this month, a businessman from Rui'an City in the Zhejiang province offered the city's environmental protection chief Bao Zhenming more than $30,000 to swim in the highly polluted local river. Bao declined the offer, and the local government responded by saying that most pollution is caused by individuals, not factories, and can be attributed to overpopulation. For the full story, see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/02/20/us-china-pollution-water-idUKBRE91J19N20130220. For the story on the Shanghai electronics manufacturer, see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-02-22/shanghai-to-punish-computer-parts-maker-for-polluting-river.html. For the story on Bao's challenge, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/21/chinese-official-swim-polluted-river.