Special Reports
Water Pollution

Greenpeace China

Water Pollution Has Become China’s Most Urgent Environmental Problem Today

At least 300 million people in China do not have access to safe drinking water.

A sewage exit discharging untreated wastewater in Jiangsu Province.
Enlarge ImageNot only is China one of the world’s twenty most water deficient
countries, but irresponsible corporations and slack government has made water
pollution highly prevalent in China. Today, as much as 70% of all rivers, lakes,
and reservoirs in China are affected by water pollution, and with each passing
day the situation only gets worse.

Although legislation is in place for governing water pollution in China, laws
are not strictly enforced. Too often, local governments in China turn a blind
eye to water pollution, such that the discharge of untreated wastewater into
public bodies of water has become the norm. China’s industrial sector dumps an
astonishing 40 to 60 billion tons of untreated wastewater into rivers and lakes
every year, leaving little more than a precious 40% of water clean enough for

As a result, 90 million people in China are directly exposed to water pollution
on a daily basis. Water for drinking, bathing, cleaning and cooking are often
contaminated with toxic substances exceeding international safety standards.

As one of the most serious environmental problems in China, water pollution has
fatal consequences for the population’s health. In communities along China’s
major rivers, there appears to be a higher than normal rate of cancer, tumors,
spontaneous abortions and diminished IQs.

Greenpeace is currently campaigning against water pollution in China by urging
the government and industries to adopt clean production and enforce strict
legislation to ensure the proper treatment of wastewater.

Our campaign will take us to the most contaminated water sources in China, such
as the heavy industry hubs of Jiangsu, Jiangxi and Chongqing, to expose the
severity of China’s water pollution and identify key polluters. We want to see
transparency in future wastewater policy-making by opening channels for public
monitoring. We aim to empower China’s victims of water pollution by giving voice
to their tragedy.

We need your support in our Clean Water for China campaign. As always,
Greenpeace maintains its independence by not accepting donations from
corporations or governments. We depend solely on donations from individuals like
you, and hope that you will join us in our campaign to end water pollution in


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