Monday, July 02, 2007

Beijing tells residents water safe straight from tap

Getting ready for the 2008 Olympics?
Residents of China's capital have been assured that their tap water is "drinkable even without being boiled", state media reported, a breakthrough of sorts in a country where boiling drinking water is second nature.

The Beijing Waterworks Group said the 2008 Olympic host city's water had passed 106 tests for contaminants set down in new national standards, the Xinhua news agency reported late on Sunday.

"This is a blessing for Beijing residents," said the China news agency. "For many years now, owing to a host of environmental factors, the quality of Beijing water has been doubted by the outside world."

Many of the city's near 16-million dwellers might need convincing. Grumbling about metallic-tasting and unhygienic pipes is widespread. [emphasis mine]

Uh, NO! This isn't a breakthrough of sorts, but a major achievement. If you've ever been to a country, and there are many, where the water must be filtered (often more than once) and/or boiled before its safe to use, you would recognize the significance of this.

I was in an Asian country and was served a couple hard-boiled eggs which had been rinsed under the tap. There were probably no more than 4-6 drops of water left in the bottom of the bowl, but I got sick as hell. Safe tap water is unbelievably convenient.

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