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China announces action plan to tackle water pollution

Updated: Apr 16,2015 4:56 PM

China announced an action plan that includes a list of measures to tackle water pollution, with the aim of improving the quality of the water environment around the country by 2030.

The action plan, issued by the State Council on April 16, requires that by 2020, China’s water environment quality will gradually improve; the percentage of severely polluted water bodies will be greatly reduced and the quality of drinking water will be improved.

Also by 2020, groundwater overdraft will be reduced; the aggravated pollution of groundwater will be preliminarily controlled; the environmental quality of offshore areas, and the aquatic ecosystem in areas such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, will be improved.

As it strives to improve the country’s water environment quality and restore the system function of water ecology.

By 2030, the government will also work to improve the quality of the ecological environment and realize the virtuous circle of ecosystem by the middle of the 21st century.

The plan includes specific indicators, including:

By 2020, the quality of over 70 percent of the water in seven key river basins, such as the Yangtze River and Yellow River, will reach level III or above, and the amount of foul water in urban built-up areas will be controlled, thus not exceeding 10 percent.

A list of ten measures will be adopted in order to realize the targets, according to the action plan:

1. The discharge of pollutants will be controlled and emission reduction measures will aim to tackle pollution caused by industries, urban living, agriculture and the rural sector, and ships and ports.

2. Economic restructuring and upgrading will be further boosted. Industrial water and reclaimed water and seawater will be used to promote cyclic development.

3. Measures will aim to continue saving and protecting water resources. A strict management system of water resources will be implemented so as to control the overall use of water, improve water-use efficiency, and protect the ecological flows of key rivers.

4. Scientific and technological support will be further improved. Advanced technologies will be promoted and fundamental research is set to be strengthened. The environmental protection industry will be regulated and the authorities will accelerate the development of the environmental protection service industry.

5. Market will play a bigger role. The authorities will make efforts to step up water price reform, improve taxation policies, facilitate diversified investment and establish an incentive mechanism that promotes water environment treatment.

6. Relevant law enforcement and supervision will be more strict, and environmental violations and illegal construction projects will be severely punished.

7. The management of water environment will be further strengthened. The authorities will strictly control the amount of pollutants and various environmental risks, and give authorization, whenever appropriate, to discharge pollutants.

8. The authorities will also make efforts to ensure the safety of aquatic ecosystem, including ensuring the safety of drinking water sources, treating underground water pollution and pollution in major river basins, and strengthening the protection of water bodies and the ocean environment. By the end of 2017, foul water in urban built-up areas will be basically eliminated.

9. The duties of all parties will be clarified and implemented. Local governments should be more responsible for the protection of the water environment and pollutant discharge units should be made accountable. The central government will check the implementation of the action plan in different basins, regions and sea areas every year.

10. Public participation and community supervision will be improved, and the government will regularly publish a list of cities and provinces that have the best and worst water environment.