Half of China's rivers and lakes are severely polluted by industrial effluent and chemical fertilisers.

Rapid and immense growth of industry in China, coupled with little environmental enforcement and overuse of farm chemicals, has led to waterways and the countryside being contaminated by lead, cadmium and pesticides, among other toxins.

IBTimesUK presents shocking photographs that demonstrate how severe China's water pollution has become.

china water pollution
A man looks at a contaminated river in Cangnan county, Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, on 24 July, 2014. Environmental Protection Bureau officers were unable to figure out the cause of the "river of blood".Reuters
china water pollution
A man swims in the algae-covered Han River in Wuhan, Hubei province, on 11 June, 2014.Reuters
china water pollution
A man walks past a pipe discharging waste water into the Yangtze River from a paper mill in Anqing, Anhui province, on 4 December, 2013.Reuters
china water pollution
Workers clean up leaked oil after a pipeline explosion in Qingdao, Shandong province, on 25 November, 2013.Reuters
china water pollution
Workers collect dead fish at a park in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, on 5 November, 2013. More than 10,000 fish were found dead in a smelly lake, near a drain where sewage flowed into it.Reuters
china water pollution
A boy tries to avoid scattered rubbish floating on a flooded street in Shantou, Guangdong province, on 23 August, 2013.Reuters
china water pollution
A fisherman wades in Chaohu Lake, covered in blue-green algae, in Chaohu city, Anhui province, on 19 July, 2013.Reuters
china water pollution
Dead pigs float in a branch of the Huangpu River (one of Shanghai's main water sources) in Pinghu, Zhejiang province, on 11 March, 2013.Reuters
china water pollution
A dead fish floats in water filled with blue-green algae at the East Lake in Wuhan, Hubei province, on 20 August, 2012.Reuters
china water pollution
A journalist takes a sample of red polluted water in the Jianhe River in Luoyang, Henan province, on 13 December, 2011.Reuters
china water pollution
A boy swims in water covered in algae known as sea lettuce, of the coat of Qingdao, Shandong province, on 15 July, 2011.Reuters
china water pollution
A fisherman holds his fishing net in his mouth in a polluted river in Wuhan, Hubei province, on 21 June, 2011.Reuters
china water pollution
A labourer cleans up at an oil spill site near Dalian port, Liaoning province, on 23 July, 2010.Reuters
china water pollution
Fishermen row a boat in the algae-covered Chaohu Lake in Hefei, Anhui province, on 19 June, 2009.Reuters
china water pollution
A child drinks water near a stream in Fuyuan county, Yunnan province, on 20 March, 2009.Reuters
china water pollution
An elderly man leads his mule across a polluted river in Linka village, Anshun, Guizhou province, on 17 January, 2009. The river is polluted by waste products dumped from a nearby coal mine.Reuters
china water pollution dead fish
A worker clears dead fish from a lake in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province, on 11 July, 2007. More than 50,000 kilograms (110,000 pounds) of fish died due to pollution and hot weather.Reuters