Water and Sanitation Issues in China Rationales

Cleaning Up Doubts About Sanitation

William Li


The symbol of Chinese sanitation is undoubtedly the squat seat toilet. The structure known has the “squatty potty” has historically caused confusion and fear in the hearts of Westerners, but is this truly the biggest problem Chinese sanitation has to offer? A quick glance at global sanitation statistics shows us 2.5 billion people living without adequate sanitation and 2.6 billion dollars a year lost to inadequate water and sanitation services (UN development goals). Another look at the China sanitation statistics tells us that more than one-third of the rural Chinese population still use unimproved sanitation. Thus, actions involving supporting and educating the rural residents must be taken immediately.

Firstly, improving sanitation could greatly reduce diseases in rural China. Many would argue that enough has been put into action, sanitation percentage climbed from 47.5 percent to 76.5 percent in the last 30 years (WorldBand.org). Although on a national scale, this issue is gradually starting to decline, 36 percent of the rural pollution still lives with unimproved sanitation (Sanitation in China). Compared to the 100 percent in Australia, United States, Japan and other countries, there is still plenty of room to improve (WorldBand.org). According to CDC.gov, a community washing hands with soap can reduce chances of diarrheal diseases by 31 percent. Residents without proper sanitary conditions can easily be infected with diarrhoea and respiratory diseases. Those in close proximity could also be impacted by these substandard conditions. If left untouched, the circle of infections could expand damaging the entire community. Although obscure, many have failed to notice the importance of soap. The majority of public bathrooms in China have overlooked the implementation of ample soap next to the sink. Soap could reduce the chance of diarrheal diseases by 9 to 14 percent (Ensink). Inadequate bathrooms without soap could result in an outpour of diseases. For us, national installation of sanitary facilities might be a little out of reach, but awareness is definitely plausible.

Awareness is critical to solving our problems. We consider ourselves well educated of the issues around us. Though in most cases, we are invisible to many devastating truths. There is a great wealth gap in China. The urban and rural residents live in very contrasting environments. While the urban residents enjoy luxuries of western style flush toilets, a bulk of the rural Chinese population still use night pots or flush toilets without a sewage system (Lossifora). Some say that chamber pots were long since replaced by western flush toilets, but some rural dwellers without sufficient wealth still cannot afford the upgrade. Chamber pots or night pots are containers used to contain excrements until they are carried to the nearest composition station, this method was used in traditional agriculture to fertilize crops, and have been replaced with more unsustainable ways of modern farming (Lossifora). Mrs Wang, a rural resident who have kids living in the city feels heartbroken and impotent. “But they’re scared and disgusted. They don’t know how to use a night pot anymore. And I can’t afford a modern toilet.” (Lossifora) Sanitary problems do not focus purely on the health aspect, but establish problems socially while applying financial pressure. These unsanitary conditions are currently unheard of in urban areas, children born in the cities have never even heard of a “night pot”. How could we settle these urgent issues when many of us never knew such problems exist? Actions need to be taken so the entire nation is aware of these issues. We must all recognize these problems and face them together as a community.

Improving sanitation would guarantee a longer average lifespan. It is arguable that providing sanitation is expensive and difficult. However, every country should go extensive lengths to provide a better environment for the people. According to CDC.org, Approximately 1.8million children less than the age of five die from pneumonia and diarrheal diseases, both inflicted by unimproved sanitation. Implicating that if enough is invested into sanitation, the people of Beijing could expect a more prolonged lifespan with a clean, appealing environment. Furthermore, better sanitation would allow more people the opportunity to contribute to society.

Improved hygiene could further enhance access to clean water, hence reducing the wasted capital countries must spend to secure water safety. Those without research would point out that many sanitation facilities require water to function. However, some logical thinking reminds that many unimproved sanitary methods include dumping faeces into natural water sources. Improved sanitation facilities such as the pit latrine, septic tank, ventilated improved pit latrine and piped sewer system help reduce the potential pollution dealt to nearby river sources (Ssali Muzafaru). To conquer two significant global problems with this one solution is massively beneficial. Similarly, if sanitation facilities are developed in working locations, the chances of industrial chemicals leaking into natural water sources are greatly reduced.

We must act immediately to improve sanitation. A superior sanitation would cleanse diseases significantly, allow us the opportunity to raise awareness, raise the average lifespan and expand access to clean water. Sanitation is a massive issue in developing countries, where manufacture and economy are often prioritized over health. Sanitation is not just a cosmetic complication, it affects us socially, economically, and ties deeply to our health. Truly, we must educate and support the rural residents without improved sanitation facilities.


Works Cited


Center of Disease Control and Prevention. “Show Me the Science – Why Wash Your Hands? | Handwashing | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Nov. 2015, www.cdc.gov/handwashing/why-handwashing.html. Accessed 4 May 2017.

EMsmile. “Water Supply and Sanitation in China – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 24 Apr. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_China. Accessed 4 May 2017.

Ensink, Jeroen. “WELL – Resource Centre Network for Water, Sanitation and Environmental Health.” Loughborough University – A Top Five University and 1st in the UK for Student Experience, www.lboro.ac.uk/well/resources/fact-sheets/fact-sheets-htm/Handwashing.htm. Accessed 4 May 2017.

Iossifova, Deljana. “Of Poo and People: Sanitation and Differentiation in Urban China.” Our World, 19 Nov. 2014, ourworld.unu.edu/en/of-poo-and-people-sanitation-and-differentiation-in-urban-china. Accessed 4 May 2017.

Kalipza. “Sanitation – Wikipedia.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, 26 Apr. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanitation#Health_aspects. Accessed 4 May 2017.

Muzafaru, Ssali. “IMPROVE SANITATION AND HYGIENE.” Clean Water 4 Africa, Nov. 2014, water4africa.ideascale.com/a/dtd/IMPROVE-SANITATION-AND-HYGIENE/136091-32025. Accessed 4 May 2017.

Sharma, Sanchita. “15 Diseases India Can Stamp out by Improving Sanitation | India | Hindustan Times.” Http://www.hindustantimes.com/, 25 2015, www.hindustantimes.com/india/15-diseases-india-can-stamp-out-by-improving-sanitation/story-AXFE29Xo13SbtP9rd2Oa9O.html. Accessed 4 May 2017.

SixWise.com. “The 6 Most Dangerous Home-Based Causes of Disease and Illness.” Healthy Family – Health and Wealth, Home Safety, Health, Relationship, Growing Family, www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/07/20/the-6-most-dangerous-home-based-causes-of-disease-and-illness.htm. Accessed 4 May 2017.


The World Bank. “Improved Sanitation Facilities (% of Population with Access) | Data.” Data | The World Bank, data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.ACSN?end=2015&locations=CN-IN-AU-US-JP&start=2015&view=map. Accessed 4 May 2017.

World Health Organization. “WHO | Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.” WHO | World Health Organization, www.who.int/gho/phe/water_sanitation/en/. Accessed 4 May 2017.


Filtering this generation

Glen Zhang


Water, one of the most essential elements to fulfill human needs. Yet, human beings treat it like it is not a need, but a want. Because of this societal norm, we have caused most water on earth to be polluted, therefore causing what we call “water pollution”.  People in the early ages never thought water pollution would never be a global problem, as there’re plenty of water on earth for us to extract and consume. It is clear though today, that water pollution is one of the most recognized problems that will require a lot of effort and time to piece together. Even though water pollution is seen as a global problem, the main cause of it is still littering (littering has always been the main cause of water pollution). Water is a human need, but what would happen if we continue consuming polluted water? The UN’s Solution is to reuse water, extract polluted water, then adjust it for human use. Nationally and locally, health problems related to water is also a big problem. Having many people getting health issues, diseases and dying each year in china, along with china having approximately all bodies of water polluted, it is clear we need to do something about it.  For china to have a clean exposer to water, they must direct people towards helping with extracting pollution.


Water pollution concerns many things, but the reason water pollution is recognized by humans is the fact that it can potentially affect your health. Many will disagree that water pollution is not a big problem, and we certainly do not need global attention to fix it. The people who see water pollution as a crisis would like to politely disagree, take many industries or factories for example, many do not have a proper technique to dispose waste, and they most of the time will wash the chemicals or the waste with fresh water, the fresh water then goes into bigger bodies of water, which is extracted and modified in a way which does not remove the chemicals, then brought to someone to drink. According to a study by the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in 2008 several mid-age people die every day because of water pollution, and many have bad health conditions because of it.  an average of 5000 children under five die each day because of diarrheal diseases. According to The head of China’s national development agency said in 2007 that one quarter the length of China’s seven main rivers was so poisoned the water harmed the skin.  Therefore, having that many people who are harmed or even dying on a daily basis needs some immediate attention.

Water pollution does not only affect health in a negative way, it also affects life under water which then affects human beings. Many people might not agree with might statement, they might say things like polluted water and hurting under water life will not affect their overall health that much. Well according to Annette McDermott, a Natural Healing Specialist, said: “Ocean mammals get entangled in old nets and drown because they cannot get to the surface for air. Birds, turtles, and fish ingest a variety of plastic items and their digestive systems become clogged”. Now, plastic is not the only hazardous materials that affects marine life, according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Oil is also a really big factor in causing todays water pollution, with the fact that we use it in our everyday lives. When oil is released into a body of water, any fur-bearing mammal or birds who happens to catch some on their fur or feathers, may not be able to fly or move properly, maintain body temperature, or feed. The oil might also wash up on beaches and invade nesting areas, When marine mammals try to clean themselves, they might ingest oil which can poison them. Oil may impact coral reefs in a negative way. These reefs are not only beautiful; they provide a habitat for many sea creatures. NOAA indicates the impact of oil on coral reefs is difficult to predict. Oil also clogs up the gills of the fish that live there and suffocates them. When oil floats on the surface, it blocks sunlight and prevents marine plants from using light for photosynthesis. These plants are important parts of the food chain and the reef habitats found in the oceans.

The final reason why water pollution needs to be sustained is how many ways it can be caused in several ways, therefore having so much water pollution on this planet. Many might argue with many ways that waste can be released into the ocean, a lot of them might be minor and cause slight pollution. I would like to disagree, according to eSchoolToday, there are 8 types of water pollution which all cracks a huge dent in our water resources. Nutrient pollution, which is waste water and fertilizers and sewage, containing high levels of nutrients, encouraging algae and weed growth in the water, causing it be unsafe to drink. Surface water pollution is natural water found on the surface that is dissolving or mixing physically with the water. Oxygen Depleting is when bodies of water have micro-organisms, and too much biodegradable matter end up in water, it encourages more microorganism growth, and they end up using more oxygen, if oxygen is gone, good organisms will die and anaerobic (harmful) organisms grow more to produce damaging toxins. Ground water pollution, when chemicals are washed down the soil, causing pollution underground. Microbiological, when microorganisms like viruses, bacteria and protozoa get into fresh water this natural pollution can cause fishes and other water life to die. Chemical water pollution, is what the NOAA explained before, where industries don’t have a proper way to dispose waste, and they just wash it down with fresh water which will end up in a body of water causing the body of water to be contaminated with waste. And last, oil spillage, where any type of oil is leaked into a body of water, which can cause death to many fish and have seabird’s feathers become incapable as well.

Water pollution, we are still far away from solving it, and time and effort from everyone is required, if we redirect this water pollution into more usable water, we are sure to make a difference. Water pollution can really come to damage our society and environment later on. It will cause marine life to parish, it will cause death across the globe on a daily basis, and can be caused in many ways. But, if we all stand together, sacrifice time and effort, one drop at a time, we will be able to create splashes, and create an ocean of fresh water.


Works Cited


“Dispensers for Safe Water.” Evidence Action. AMRITA AHUJA, CHAIR OF THE BOARD DOUGLAS B. MARSHALL, JR. FAMILY FOUNDATION, n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.

ESchooltoday. “What Is Water Pollution.” What Is Water Pollution for Children. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2017.

Yongming, Xie. “An Overview of Water, Water Pollution and Control in China.” Environmental Management and Health 3.3 (1992): 18-22. Web.

Water Resources of China.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Apr. 2017. Web. 05 May 2017.


China’s Looming Water Shortage

Roy Shaver


In the far but foreseeable future, the world ‘s population is predicted to grow by about 40%, and 90% of this 40% is expected to be in the developing parts of the world. This growth will be represented by increased industrial and agricultural output, urbanization and utilization of a limited yet interdependent resource: water. A look at our historical use of water indicates that demand to fuel this growth will be substantial: The World Water Council reports that while the global population tripled in the 20th century, the use of renewable water resources increased six fold.  The government is already starting to contribute with a very big scale of of time and money, and with the community helping out, everyone working together would actually give the world a chance to fight this water scarcity.

In Asia the situation is already acute. Due to the phenomenal growth of some Asian economies, coupled with inadequate governance, water crises regionally have begun to emerge, not least in the world ‘s factory – China. The challenge a country the size of China faces in managing this finite resource sustainably is arguably without parallel in global terms. China is in the throes of a water crisis that threatens to only worsen under present conditions. Its economy has grown at an average rate of more than 9.5% annually for the past 28 years, four times the rate of first world economies

As there is a growing amount of people acknowledging what is happening to China’s water and they are trying to do whatever they can to help and fix this problem and these activist are people all around China coming together to try and fix China’s growing water crisis.

By way of contrast, even though there are a large and growing amount of people in China trying to act and fix this problem, there are still a very large amount of people that don’t know about this problem or that they think that China does not lack water and they can use all the water they want. Over the past few years, there has been a rising amount of people that have noticed and started to act towards this water crisis has been haunting the world and especially China. With this growing amount of activists there is a slight decrease in the populations overall use of water per day it has gone from 600 gallons per person slowly decreasing to 525 gallons per person per day.

The Chinese government have come up with an ambitious plan to try and fix this water shortage problem, this action that they are taking is the called the South-North water shortage project. The Chinese government is projected to work on this project for the next 5 years, although this might take a long time as the Chinese government said it will have a bigger impact on China’s water shortage problem, the Chinese government is expected to spend 11 billion per year. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said last year that 280 million people in the country do not have access to safe drinking water. And figures quoted by the official China Daily on Friday showed that 9.2% of groundwater is unusable even for irrigation. The action plan seeks to improve the quality of water in China’s seven major river valleys and coastal areas so that 70 percent is “good” by 2020 and over 75 percent of the water is “clear” by 2030. On March 14, 2011, China released its 12th Five-year Plan. “With the 12th Five-Year Plan, China is adopting its most stringent water resource policies to date,” said Wang Hao, director of the Water Resources Department at the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research. The plan calls for a 30% reduction in water use for every dollar of industrial output, aims to reduce water pollution by 8% by 2015, and puts a limit on total water use in the Yellow River Basin. Although this might seem like a ambitious plan, it is good to know that the government is starting to put time and effort in to this looming water scarcity problem that haunts the world and especially China.

The looming water shortage in China haunts the world and china especially, but somehow people are not noticing this problem and that they don’t really care about it. Over the last few weeks I went to a hutong and interviewed a lot of Chinese natives and people on the bottom of the economy chain, even know these people are not the richest people and that with the growing price of water these people are still not noticing plus worrying about this water crisis that will one day destroy the world if people are simply not willing to care about it. During the winter in 2013, Beijing and the northern and eastern provinces had the worst drought in 60 years. It has left 2.57 million people and 2.79 million heads of livestock short of water, and affected 12.75 million acres of wheat fields, which sent global food prices soaring. South China experienced 50% less rainfall than normal, resulting in the drying up of rivers and reservoirs. While torrential rainfall fell on the south this week, northern regions are still suffering from drought.

Even though there are still a very large amount of people that are still unaware of this growing water crisis that may one-day ruin the earth, but if there are people out there that care and are doing everything in their power to help and contribute to the world and try to fix this problem. The government is already starting to contribute with a very big scale of time and money, and with the community helping out, everyone working together would actually give the world a chance to fight this water scarcity.




Works cited

Chen, Te-Ping. “China’s Water Problems Are Even Worse Than You Think: Report.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, 14 Jan. 2015. Web. 05 May 2017.

Tiezzi, Shannon. “China’s Looming Water Shortage.” The Diplomat. The Diplomat, 30 Nov. 2014. Web. 05 May 2017.

“Beijing’s Self-made Water Shortage.” South China Morning Post. South China Morning Post, 24 Aug. 2011. Web. 05 May 2017.

“Grand New Canals.” The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 27 Sept. 2014. Web. 05 May 2017.

Hewitt, Duncan. “China Announces Ambitious Plan to Clean up Its Water, Close down Polluting Factories.” International Business Times. International Business Times Journal, 17 Apr. 2015. Web. 05 May 2017.

Conserve Energy Future. “Causes, Effects and Solutions of Water Scarcity.” Conserve Energy Future. Conserve Energy Future, 24 Dec. 2016. Web. 08 May 2017.

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