BEIJING — One third of China’s Yellow River is now poisonous to drink, new data reveals. The Yellow River Conservancy Committee, in its release of a 2007 survey, reports that only 16.1 percent of the water is potable. This is a disturbing statistic, reports the Associated Press, for a river that hydrates millions of people and irrigates thousands of acres of land across China.
Stretching from the western Qinghai province into the Bohai sea the survey crosses the nation — sampling 8,384 miles of the river and its tributaries. Using criteria from the United Nations Environmental Program, scientists indicate that 33.8 percent is so polluted it cannot be used for drinking, aquaculture, industrial use or agriculture.
The source of the setback? Scientists leading the study blame industry and manufacturing for 70 percent of dirty discharges. They also cite local governments, suggesting that regulation at the national level remains ineffective due to decentralized authority. Local governments, as a token of gratitude to factories for keeping employment high, overlook or underestimate hazardous output.
The Yellow River — christened ‘China’s Sorrow‘ — has been polluted for years, but the recent survey indicates the situation is worsening — with nothing new accomplished to address the ever more potent level of water pollution.
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Source: The Associated Press