2016/01/10

High antibiotic levels in China's water

High concentrations of antibiotics have been found in major Chinese rivers, said Thursday's Beijing News citing a report from the Chinese Science Bulletin, an academic journal.

The report by the East China University of Science and Technology, along with Tongji and Tsinghua universities, analyzed pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in China's surface water. PPCPs include various kinds of cosmetics, prescription medicine, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and sedatives.

China's surface water was found to contain as many as 68 kinds of antibiotic in much higher concentrations than in the water of developed countries. Another 90 kinds of non-antibiotic medical ingredients were also detected.

China produces more than 33,000 tones of PPCPs each year, a possible reason why such a high concentration was found, said the report, adding that 70 percent of China's drugs are antibiotics.

The report also listed the main sources of PPCPs: sewage plants, livestock waste water, pharmaceutical manufacture, hospitals and cropland.

PPCPs are like "invisible enemies" to humans, Yu Gang,of Tsinghua University told Xinhua. "Once discharged into nature, they will be taken in by people via food or water and accumulate in our bodies, impacting on future generations."

How to deal with the problem is a current issue for environmental experts both home and abroad.

In a government work report delivered to the National People's Congress in March, Premier Li Keqiang announced an action plan on clean water this year, part of the "war on pollution."