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Northwestern China suffers environmental contamination
TAIPEI – According to a recent report by the Chinese Engineering Academy, 79% of the population in northwestern China lives in areas where polluted water resources pose a critical threat to people and the environment.
The report indicates that there are twenty-one cities or regions, including major tributaries of the Yellow, Wei, Shule and Yili rivers, where the contamination is severe. The water quality in these areas is level 5 or worse, making it unsuitable for agricultural irrigation. One of the most contaminated rivers in China is the Wei River where the water is pitch black and has a strong stench.
Although only 13% of the land in Northwestern China is severely contaminated, these areas which are comprised of densely-populated cities or mining centers affect over 55% of the total population.
The main measures of contamination are chemical oxygen demand (COD), biological oxygen demand (BOD) and amines (NH3). Heavy metal contamination is also found in the Gansu and Inner Mongolia stretches of the Yellow River.
The areas with medium-level pollution include 14 cities and regions, such as Urumuqi (Xinjiang Province), Baiyin (Gansu Province) and Tongchuan (Shaanxi Province). In these areas the water quality is primarily level 4, affecting 27.2% of the land area and 23.9% of the total population in the Northwest.
The water in the medium-level and severely polluted areas is no longer suitable for drinking. The 27 cities or regions that did not show obvious signs of pollution are primarily desert and are only home to 20.9% of the people in northwestern China.
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