Guangdong Province must do more to prevent pollution in the
estuary area of the Pearl River, which runs into the South China
Sea, officials said.
Li Zhujiang, director of the Guangdong oceanic and fishery
administration, said yesterday that the Pearl River estuary had
been damaged by years of ineffective protection measures.
"The water near the shore has been seriously polluted by
industrial, agricultural and urban waste," Li said.
The Pearl River
According to a recent research report by Li's department,
Guangdong discharged 2.35 billion tons of industrial waste-water
into the sea last year, of which only about 84 percent met
About 4.2 billion tons of urban waste, as much as half of which
had not been properly treated, was discharged into the sea through
the river, the report said.
The report added that sediment collected near the coast was
polluted with materials such as inorganic nitrogen, phosphate and
petroleum, lead, copper, cadmium, mercury and arsenic.
"Industrial and urban waste are the major culprits behind the
worsening ecological conditions near the coast," Li said.
One consequence of these conditions is that the number of fish
species has decreased from about 200 in the 1970s to the current
50, Li said.
Besides industrial and urban waste, Li pointed out that efforts
to reclaim land from the sea were also to blame for the damaged
Since 2003, Guangdong has approved 63 such projects in search of
more land for industrial expansion. So far the province has
reclaimed nearly 6,700 hectares from the sea.
"There should be a strict procedure to better regulate such
projects. Otherwise, the environment will be further harmed," Li
told China Daily yesterday.
More effective measures should be drawn up to prevent industrial
and urban waste from finding their way into the sea, Li said.
"The government has spent so much on cleaning the river, but it
never set up a special financial foundation to deal with pollution
near the sea," Li said.
(China Daily July 25, 2007)