Beijing Invests in Water Pollution Project Before Olympics

Dec. 5, 2006

Beijing is set to invest 12.46 billion yuan (US$1.59 billion) between 2006 and 2010 in order to stop the country’s water pollution problem.

The plan aims to guarantee a cleaner water supply for the city of 16 million, before the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The plan was jointly issued by Beijing's environment watchdog and planning agency and proposes 35 new wastewater treatment plants before 2008.

The Ministry of Water Resources P.R. China reported that with the plan, 90 percent of the wastewater in urban Beijing and 50 percent in its suburbs will be treated before it flows into rivers and lakes.

The city will block more than 1,000 sewer pipes along 30 of its rivers by 2008.

When the plan is complete, Beijing will be able to treat all sewage and garbage from 41 villages in an area of 362 square kilometers near Miyun, Huairou, and Guanting reservoirs, the city's major drinking water sources.

The city will also attack soil erosion over 3,560 square kilometers near or upstream from Miyun and Guanting reservoirs by 2010.

The environmental protection bureau reported to the Ministry of Water Resources that untreated wastewater, industrial effluent and agricultural pollution are responsible for the deteriorating water quality of its rivers, reservoirs and lakes.

The bureau also stated that the pollution of Beijing's water supply was getting worse, and water from the Guanting reservoir, the city's fourth largest source of drinking water, was not fit for human consumption or even irrigation.

Seven of Beijing lakes, such as the Winter Palace Lake and Taoranting Lake, are below the level acceptable for drinking water. Only four lakes could be used to supply drinking water, while water from the other lakes was only fit for industrial use.

Source: Ministry of Water Resources P.R. China