MANILA (AFP) — Water pollution may already have reached "alarming" levels in China following its industrialisation over the last three decades, the Asian Development Bank said Thursday.
The Philippines-based lender said it was giving Beijing a 500,000-dollar grant to help it design a system to manage water pollution that "may have already reached an alarming level across the country."
The aid would help Beijing cut the discharge of mostly industrial pollutants by 10 percent from 2005 levels.
China's economy has expanded rapidly since the late 1970s, lifting nearly half a billion of its people out of absolute poverty, the bank said in a statement.
"Along with the rapid growth, however, the country has been faced with the increasingly difficult task of controlling environmental pollution, resources depletion and ecological degradation.
"Despite government efforts and investment, the country has yet to arrest these problems," said ADB social sector economist Yue Fei.
Water pollution has emerged as the most pressing concern due to frequent discharges in nearly all the water systems across the country, the bank said.
A large number of wastewater treatment facilities are operating at less than 30 percent of capacity, while some newly built ones have remained idle, it added.
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