China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

China faces severe ocean pollution

BEIJING, Jan. 11 -- China's ocean environment, especially the shallow waters just off the coast, has been severely polluted by an increasing run-off of contaminants into the sea. A report released by China's State Oceanic Administration says the country is faced with severe challenges in handling the pollution of the ocean.

report, China's Oceanic Environment Quality 2005, says that the ocean has been polluted by a harmful algal bloom, a sudden, massive growth of microscopic and macroscopic plant life.

is estimated that last year there were over 80 incidents of algal blooms in the shallow waters off China's coast, leading to direct economic losses of nearly 8.6 million US dollars.

spokesperson for the State Oceanic Administration, Li Chunxian, says a run off of pollutants from the land is the source of the contamination.

run-off of pollutants from the land is heavy. That causes the deterioration of ecological system in the ocean, rivers, bays and wetlands. The pollutants contain substances that aid the growth of harmful algae. The excessive run-off of pollutants also damages the ecosystems of coral reefs."

addition, algal blooms cause fish to die by lowering the oxygen concentration of the water.

the past five years, China has seen increased contamination of the ocean. The total amount of waste water flowing into the ocean was over 31 billion tons, 9.6 billion tons more than in 2000.

severe pollution has attracted the attention of environmental protection authorities. Many provinces and regions have adopted measures, including control on the run-off of pollutants and strengthening the monitoring of sea pollution.

a city in east China, has been actively working on controlling pollution of the ocean. Jiang Qingchun is an official working in this area.

oceans have a limited capacity to absorb pollution. Now we have less and less fish and the ocean environment is deteriorating. We cannot endlessly exploit the oceans any more. We should protect them. And we also cannot pour rubbish into the ocean indiscriminately any more."

adds that it is difficult for oceans to recover from pollution, and so the pressing task is to reduce pollution in the future.

present, China cannot recycle all the pollutants it produces due to lagging recycling facilities and poor environmental awareness in some areas.

the authorities have pledged to make more efforts to improve this situation.
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