The Chinese government wants to enforce a clampdown on illegal wastewater discharges.

Bloomberg BNA reported that Premier Li Keqiang said in a State Council meeting on energy saving and emission reduction that China aims to tackle the problem and hopes to deal a serious blow to polluters. The government will also pursue local officials who don't properly oversee wastewater discharge activities of companies in their jurisdictions.

Cleaning the country's waters is an arduous task for China, as just 47.4% of the surface water in lakes, rivers and reservoirs meets water quality standards at present, said Jiao Yong, vice minister in the Ministry of Water Resources.

Water pollution is a growing concern for the Chinese people. Polluted water could have a devastating impact on China's agriculture and reports suggest that contaminated water is affecting crops, Environmental Technology Online pointed out.

The Associated Press reported recently that a new survey has been released indicating that almost one-fifth of China's farmland has been seriously contaminated with toxic metals due to the rampant industrialisation under the rule of the Communist Party. Cadmium, nickel and arsenic are the biggest contaminants.

And it isn't just water quality that is affected. As China's high-polluting industries grew too fast last year they put an even bigger strain on the environment and polluted the air, China's pollution agency was reported as saying by Singapore's Today newspaper.