Pollution still a major problem

  • AseanPlus News
  • Saturday, 07 Jun 2003

CHINA has issued its annual report on the state of the environment last year, saying the ecological situation was “still not optimistic” even though pollution was reduced.  

The report issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration said the overall state of the environment last year almost remained unchanged compared with 2001, naming pollution in rivers, lakes and seas, air pollution in cities and acid rain as major problems across China.  

Seven major rivers and their tributaries in China have been polluted to varying degrees.  

Less than 30% of the sections of seven major river basins met the water quality standard for Grades One to Three, while 41% of the sections had water quality worse than Grade Five.  

The Haihe River, running through the densely populated Beijing-Tianjin region, was still the dirtiest, while the Yangtze River suffered the least pollution.  

Excessive discharges of nitrogen and phosphor into the water, mainly because of overuse of fertiliser by farmers and improper handling of wastes produced by livestock and poultry farms, were still the leading causes of pollution in the lakes of Dianchi, Taihu and Chaohu.  

The total amount of waste water discharged from factories and urban sewage systems reached 43.95 billion tonnes last year, an increase of 1.5% over the figure for 2001.  

Last year, the water quality in most of China's marine areas maintained good condition.  

But heavily polluted sea areas could still be found in the East China Sea, which embraces the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and Shanghai, and in the Bohai Gulf around which lie north China's major ports and industrial cities.  

Last year, red tides, caused by too much nitrogen and phosphorus in sea water, occurred 79 times in about 10,000 sq kilometres, posing threat to oceanic ecosystems and fisheries.  

The air quality of about two-thirds of Chinese cities failed to meet the air quality standard for Grade Two, although emissions of soot, industrial dust and other pollution were reduced.  

Total suspended particles were blamed as the leading pollutant of urban air. Excessive sulphur dioxide in the air caused acid rain affecting many areas in the south last year, according to the report.  

The traffic noise in 325 cities was monitored last year, and more than 60% had mild noise pollution. Nearly half of the monitored 319 cities suffered mild district noise.  

Total domestic garbage reached 136.38 million tonnes, an increase of 1.2% over the previous year. The treatment rate was 54.3%. – China Daily  

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