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Government of Chinese beach resort admits reservoirs polluted, but assures drinking water meets national standards

Garbage and pesticides are polluting drinking water in a popular tourist resort in southern China, posing a threat to its ambitions to become China’s top tourism destination.

The government of Sanya, a popular beach holiday area in Hainan province, admitted in a press conference on Thursday that the city’s sources of drinking water were being polluted by large amounts of waste and pesticide.

The admission came after local media reports recently that a large amount of residential waste was littering all six reservoirs that supply drinking water to the city.

Fruit plantations also used pesticides near the reservoirs, which prompted concern among some local residents, the reports said.

Sanya aims to become top tourism destination with natural beauty and romance

The polluted drinking water threatens to derail Sanya’s aim to become China’s top tourism destination.

The local government has been promoting the beach resort as the perfect holiday spot offering natural beauty and as ideal for honeymooning couples.

About 1.4 million people usually stay in the beachside city on the tropical island of Hainan, of whom half are tourists, government statistics show.

In 2015, Sanya hosted 2,000 weddings parties, was the backdrop of the wedding photos of 300,000 couples and the site of 100,000 honeymoon couples, according to the Sanya Wedding Tourism Association.

In response to the local media expose of its pollution problem, the city government said it would take immediate action to remove the garbage “completely”.

They would also convert the nearby fruit plantations, which produced mostly mangoes, to natural forest.

Grand ambitions: Sanya upgrades infrastructure in its bid to host 20 million visitors per year by 2018

Fences would be erected or repaired to prevent access to the reservoirs by unauthorised personnel, the government said.

Environmental inspectors would also intensify their patrols to catch trespassers who dump garbage in the reservoir areas.

The government assured residents that Sanya’s tap water was safe to drink.

“One hundred per cent of the samples met the national drinking safety standard,” the government said, citing the results of the latest official water quality examination in August.