Wednesday, July 04, 2007


An infuriating look at the situation with Beijing tap water can be found here. There are no cities within China where the tap water can be drunk directly. Personally, I will only use it for making tea if I have no bottled water left and all the shops have shut (I'm an Englishman - sometimes I really need that cup of tea!). The tap water leaves suspicious residues around the sink and in the saucepan. Sometimes it smells strange coming out of the tap and when boiled.

So, it seems like good news that finally the news arrives that Beijing's tap water has passed all 106 international safety standards and is safe to drink. Sadly not, this is not the whole picture. The news goes that Beijing has done an amazing job, getting the water to international standards five years ahead of time. However, if you are not lucky enough to live within or just next to the water treatment plants then forget it. The pollutants within the piping system is just as bad as ever and dealing with the many thousands of kilometers of pipeline running under the city would be a truly monumental task. The water which actually comes out of our taps is still not drinkable. It's just that this isn't what they choose to call tap water. They have a nice shiny tap at the treatment facility and that seems to be as good a tap as any.

So, though the headlines are all lightness and joy, in fact for the vast majority of Beijing this is simply a vacuous, infuriating piece of news.


On a more positive note it seems that the transport infrastructure may finally become usable, if only the Beijing drivers follow a few simple rules. Clearly, as Kevin points out we just need a bit more honking and everything will turn out nice.

From The Onion.

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