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China reports another "World's worst" polluted place

Published by MAC on 2006-10-20

China reports another "World's worst" polluted place

Asia's largest zinc-copper-gold processing plant, at Huludao on the Liaoning Peninsula , is helping destroy China's Bohai sea, according to an article from the Interfax China news service (Week ending October 20 2006). Heavy metal concentrations are officially reported as 2,000 times above acceptable levels. "China's Bohai may become "dead sea" within ten years, experts warn."

In 2001, central government agencies with the help of four provincial governments launched the so-called "Blue Sea Action Initiatives" in a bid to clean offshore seawaters in the Bohai area. With a projected total investment of RMB 55.5 bln (USD 7 bln), the government hoped to turn Bohai Sea into a clean, blue sea within 15 years. "However, five years after the "Blue Sea Action Initiatives" were launched, the situation has continued to deteriorate.

According to China's National Oceanic Administration, from 2001 through 2005, the polluted surface area in Bohai was between 19,000 and 30,000 sq km, about 24%-41% of the total.

Official statistics also show that the most prominent source of seawater pollution comes from onshore, accounting for around 87.5% of the pollution. There are 5.68 bln tons of polluted water discharged into the Bohai Sea each year, about 17.9% of the country's total. On the other hand, 2.16 mln tons of solid waste is dumped into the area, about 8.5% of the country's total.

Government monitoring has revealed that in China rivers and sea areas, about 84% of wastewater discharged does not meet the minimal standards stipulated by the environmental authorities. In Bohai area more than 90% fails to meet the requirements.

The Bohai Sea is now arguably the most polluted seawater on China's long coast. "In terms of the ratio of polluted surface area, Boha area is the highest in China's seashores," according to Han Gencheng of the National Oceanic Environmental Suyrveillance Center.

China does have environmental laws and ocean environmental protection laws similar to those in developed countries. "However, these laws are only frameworks," Han said. "We don't have specific regulations to follow, and we don't have a powerful enforcement department."

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