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China Pledges Environmental Improvement for Rural Areas

The Chinese government issued a document on Tuesday in which it vowed to tackle environmental problems in rural areas, where environmental conditions are "still very tough."

"Some environmental problems have become the main factors endangering the health and property security of rural Chinese, thwarting sustainable economic and social development in the countryside," said the document issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) and several other government departments.

The document contained a pledge to reduce pollution and improve the environmental quality of drinking water sources by 2010.

"To guarantee drinking water safety is the top priority of environmental protection in rural China," the document said.

The SEPA director Zhou Shengxian revealed on an earlier occasion that more than 300 million rural Chinese were affected by unsafe drinking water.

Zhou said in an interview with Xinhua that he hoped the quality of all of China's key drinking water sources would reach national standards by 2008.

(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2007)

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