Report: China says sea pollution worsening in coastal waters
Pollution of the seas off China's coasts is worsening, a state newspaper on Saturday quoted a regulator as saying, amid mounting official warnings about the environmental costs of the country's economic boom.
"The coastal marine ecosystem is getting worse," the China Daily quoted Li Chunxian, spokesman for the State Oceanic Administration, as saying. "Large amounts of pollutants are filtering from the land into the sea."
Pollution in China has risen sharply as double-digit annual economic growth has pushed up emissions by factories, power plants, sewage systems and other sources. Many are accused of failing to obey environmental regulations.
A total of 149,000 square kilometers (57,530 square miles) of sea failed to meet acceptable standards last year — an increase of 10,000 square kilometers (3,860 square miles) over 2005, the report said.
The most heavily polluted areas were in the Bohai Sea off China's northeast coast and the mouth of the Yangtze River near Shanghai, the report said.
The government says pollution is increasing due to China's rapid economic growth and the failure of factories, sewage systems and other sources to obey environmental regulations.
China's major cities are among the world's smoggiest; millions of people lack access to clean drinking water; and regulators say China suffers a pollution disaster such as a chemical spill into a river or lake on average once every two days.
The State Environmental Protection Agency issued a list this week of major companies accused of "severe violations" of environmental safeguards, most of them in the power, steel, chemical and metals industries.
A total of 12.9 million tons of waste was discharged into the sea last year, the China Daily said.
Li said about 81 percent of 609 waste discharge stations studied dumped more waste than officially permitted into the sea last year, according to the newspaper.
The spokesman "called for more efforts to repair the damage and
strengthen control of discharge containing harmful elements," the China