SHENZHEN: Effective measures should be taken immediately to stop worsening
pollution in the sea off South China's Guangdong Province, experts said.
A recent research report by the Guangdong provincial oceanic and fishery
administration, showed that the seawater quality of the affluent province has
been deteriorating each year since the first study in 2001.
Based on data from 75 observation stations in the near-shore areas of 13
coastal cities, the research showed that the Pearl River estuary, Shantou in
East Guangdong and Zhanjiang port in Southwest Guangdong, had fallen into the
category of "seriously polluted".
Pollutants such as inorganic nitrogen, phosphate and petroleum have been
found in the areas, which could cause harmful red tides.
Tests also found that the sea's sullage contained lead, copper, cadmium,
mercury, arsenic and petroleum.
In the Pearl River estuary, the ecology system has been destroyed and cannot
be rectified in the short-term, the report said.
"It's a result of neglect by local governments. They spend generously on
improving the water quality of rivers, but not much on the protection of
oceans," said Li Zhujiang, director of Guangdong Provincial Oceanic and Fishery
Administration, at a recent press briefing.
Industrial, agricultural and urban waste are to blame for the pollution, he
The province monitored 112 land source sewage outlets last year and found 84,
or 75 percent, of the outlets had discharged pollutants higher than the
About 8.3 billion tons of sewage from 82 outlets was discharged into the sea
last year, up more than 60 percent from 5 billion tons five years ago, according
to the Guangdong Monitoring Centre on Oceanic and Fishery Environment.
The centre estimated that 12.6 tons of pollutants had been discharged from
the province into the sea last year.
Three sewage outlets in Dongguan, which borders Guangzhou, have been cited
for discharging excessive pollutants into the sea.
Li suggested the provincial government update regulations for land-to-sea
sewage because present regulations were outdated, having being enforced a decade
Apart from increasing financial resources, Li said cities in the province
should also sign letters of commitment to curb pollution.
A researcher surnamed Zhang, with Guangdong Ocean University, told China
Daily that it is never to late to clean the sea.
"It's an inevitable result of economic growth. Local governments have always
pursued economic growth at the expense of the environment, no matter if it is
land or sea," Zhang said.
He said the governments should attach greater importance to limiting the
discharge of new pollutants into the sea.
Xia Zhen, a professor with Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey, said the
governments should stop the unnecessary reclamation of land, which indirectly
causes seawater pollution.
The coastal cities in Guangdong have claimed nearly 6,700 hectares from the
sea in the past few years. This has reduced the area of the Pearl River estuary,
and raised seawater levels, Xia said.
(China Daily 05/18/2007 page5)