Unsafe drinking water, caused by a lack of sanitation in China's rural areas, was the worst of the country's environmental problems last year, a Beijing-based NGO said on Tuesday.
About 320 million people, most of them farmers, still have no access to safe water, according to a report by Friends of Nature and Social Sciences Academic Press: "China's Environment in 2006: Changes and Struggles".
Government statistics show that 96% of China's villages have no sewage treatment, while 89% handle garbage without proper sanitation.
The report highlighted polluting factories as the major contributor to the deteriorating environment in rural areas.
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