Chinese Government Lies About Water Pollution -- Levels Are Twice What's Officially Listed

A recent report from Reuters reveals some disturbing news about China: the water pollution levels recorded in the official reports were found to be merely half the actual levels. Meaning that China's water pollution is literally twice as bad as its government claimed it was in 2007.

Reuters has the report:

A new Chinese government survey of the country's environmental problems has shown water pollution levels in 2007 were more than twice the government's official estimate, largely because agricultural waste was ignored.

The data, presented by Vice Environment Protection Minister Zhang Lijun, revives persistent questions about the quality of Chinese official statistics and the effectiveness of a government push for cleaner growth after decades of unbridled expansion.

We've long known that agriculture waste has played a huge roll in China's water pollution, and that pesticides play a major factor. But this revelation reveals not only a breathtaking environmental problem, but a serious issue in the Chinese government's record keeping--or perhaps more likely, its candidness with the Chinese people. Which, of course, has also long been known to be a major issue in China.


The Chinese people deserve to know how polluted their bodies of water are--those that they often get drinking water from. And what's worse, it appears that the Chinese government attempted to make claims to the contrary--saying they were cleaning up water sources when in fact the pollution levels were rising. Here's Reuters:

The first national census on pollution sources found that discharge of "chemical oxygen demand" (COD) -- a measure of water pollution -- in wastewater was 30.3 million metric tons, Zhang said. The government had said in an official paper published two years ago that 2007 was the first year it managed to reduce water pollution, with COD falling 3 percent to 13.8 million metric tons

Finally, to make matters even worse, there's even more environmental data obtained from the census that the government is considering not releasing at all--deeming it too sensitive and potentially embarrassing.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.