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China Sets Standards on Farm Pollution Control

China's first national standards on pollution control on farms have been issued recently by the country's top environmental authority.

The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) standards will apply to more than 14,000 large and medium-sized farms around the country.

The new standards specify sewage treatment requirements and maximum pollutant discharge for farms, as well as the minimum distance between a farm and residential areas or water sources.

Livestock farms, with huge excrement of poultry and animals, have become a major pollution source in the countryside, according to a SEPA survey.

Farms around the country were urged to make better use of animal waste under the new standards, which can be processed, for example, into high quality fertilizer or fuel for electric generators, said the authority.

The survey also said animals on farms throughout the country in 1999 produced 1.9 billion tons of excrement, 2.4 times the amount of solid waste discharged by the industrial sector.

Large poultry and livestock farms in the suburbs of big cities, especially in East China's coastal areas, are big pollution producers.

In the Huangpu River in Shanghai, for instance, more than 30 percent of the chemical oxygen demand (COD) comes from animal excrement.

Ji Gang, a SEPA publicity official, said on Friday that large farms have been disposing of the excrement by washing it and pouring the sewage directly into rivers nearby without processing.

Sewage from the farms, along with the use of fertilizer and pesticide, has therefore become the biggest pollution source for water resources in the countryside, said Ji.

Statistics released by the administration said that more than one-third of pollution of the country's water resources comes from the countryside.

"No technical difficulties stand in the way of solving the problem," said Ji. "It is only an issue of awareness."

The above-mentioned survey started in November 2000, and ended last May.

SEPA, following a national survey, issued a series of general regulations of pollution control on farms in May, according to Ji.

(China Daily March 4, 2002)


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