In China, Waterways Pollution Much Worse Than Reported

Peter Parks/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images via NYTimesGreenTracker| Environmentalist celebrated the transparency of China’s revealing the results of a 2007 detailed investigation of waterways pollution in the country. The reality that water pollution in 2007 was twice as severe as previously reported, has both Chinese officials and global groups concerned about water quality in the country.

These new findings, reported in the NYTimes,  raise additional concerns about the validity of China’s other environmental data, even assuming only the best motives from government officials. In 2007, China reported that it had reached a ‘turning point’ in discharge of chemical oxygen demand, the main guage of water pollution.

Using a narrower measure, officials believed the chemical oxygen demand to be 13.8 million tons in 2007, a decline of 3%.  Based on detailed information in the 2007 census, China now admits that the chemical oxygen demand in 2007 was the vastly different number of 30.3 million tons.

China says that its rivers and lakes can handle only 7.4 million tons a year of chemical sxygen demand. via NYTimes