China Environmental News Digest

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Killer pollution turns Bohai into northeast's 'dead sea'

2006-03-10

POLLUTION is killing the Bohai Sea, turning it into a dead one, and political advisers are urging the government to save what once was called a "park of the ocean."

Industrial bases and cities along the sea are dumping pollutants into Bohai, while they harvested "gold" in profits from rapid economic growth, said Liu Quanfang, a member of the National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The northern sea, covering 78,000 square kilometers, has 26 cities and about 100 ports along its 3,784-kilometers coastline.

More than 40 rivers including the Yellow River, China's second longest, flow into the Bohai Sea.

However, "almost no river that flows into Bohai is clean," and it will become a dead sea in a matter of a dozen years if effective measures are not taken to curb pollution, said the adviser from Liaoning Province.

The rim of Bohai Sea, which includes Shandong, Hebei and Liaoning provinces, and port city Tianjin, expects robust economic growth. It will be enhanced by the development of Tianjin's new coastal area, included in the draft five-year plan of national development for 2006 to 2010.

Tianjin's new coastal area will be an engine for further development of the Bohai rim and the country's north.

From 1990 to 2004, 83 red tides were reported in the bay of the Bohai Sea, and more than 80 percent of the pollutants in the sea came from the continent. About 2.8 billion tons of contaminated water is dumped into the Bohai Sea every year, Liu said.

Once Bohai "dies," Liu warned, it cannot revive for two centuries, even if it does not receive a single drop of contaminated water from rivers and continues to exchange water with other seas.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Environmental Protection Administration, Bohai has become one of the worst polluted sea waters. The content of heavy metal in sea bottom mud is 2,000 times the national safety standard.

"Pollution has caused extinctive damage to marine life. No large number of any fish, crab and shell-covered animals can be spotted, and the whole spawning area is polluted," said the adviser.

Some fish species are losing their reproductive capacity, and their extinction will be inevitable if the pollution continues.

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