As many as 186 bodies of water in China have been labeled as polluted, among which 61 are located near Beijing, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Ministry of Environmental Protection announced at a press conference on February 18.
The Beijing Water Authority spoke to Legal Daily on Monday and specified that among the 61 malodorous bodies of water around the city, 30 are classified as ‘heavily polluted’ and are concentrated in the districts of Chaoyang, Changping and Tongzhou.
Tongzhou suffers from the most severe water pollution with 19 water sources on the list.
Some famous rivers including the Wenyu River, Liangshui River, Beisha River, Dalong River, Yudai River and one segment of the ancient North Canal in downtown Beijing are also blacklisted for pollution.
Jin Shudong, head of Beijing Water Authority, said Beijing would clean up the polluted water by the end of 2018.
The two ministries also said an official WeChat account called “Urban Water Environment Public Participation” has been opened for people to report water pollution.
The Action Plan for Water Pollution Prevention and Control released last year has been urging local governments to draw up plans to combat the country’s worsening water pollution. Dubbed “10 measures for water,” the plan is the latest official effort to tackle China’s water pollution problems.
“Nationally, among 295 cities of and above the prefectural level, 218 contained some of the country’s 1,861 most foul-smelling bodies of water,” said Zhang Yue, an inspector of the urban construction division in the ministry.
From the geographical perspective, more than 64 percent of the polluted waterways are scattered through China’s south. In terms of provinces, more than 60 percent of the polluted waters are found in the southeast coastal provinces of Guangdong, Anhui, Shandong, Hunan, Hubei, Henan and Jiangsu, Zhang said.
Zhang said the actual situation may be worse, as many polluted waterways have yet to be reported.
The announcement marks the first time the government disclosed the nation’s water pollution status to the public.
The 21st Century Business Herald reported that as many as 40 cities have announced action plans on water pollution governance.
To prevent water pollution, the ministry is encouraging the private sector to undertake water cleanup projects by way of public-private partnership.
“By bringing the private sector into play, local government can outsource water pollution prevention projects to the professional market and concentrate on supervision and monitoring instead,” Zhang Yue said.