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China Issues Annual Report on Environment
China issued its annual report on the state of environment of 2002 Thursday, saying the ecological situation was "still not optimistic" even though total amount of pollution was reduced.

The report issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) said the overall state of the environment last year almost remained unchanged compared with 2001, naming pollution in rivers, lakes and seas, air pollution in cities, and acid rain as major problems across the country.

Seven major rivers and their tributaries in China have been polluted to varying degrees. Less than 30 percent of the sections of seven major river basins met the water quality standard for Grade I to III, while 41 percent of the sections had water quality worse than Grade V.

The Haihe River, running through the densely-populated Beijing-Tianjin region, was still the dirtiest river, while the Yangtze River suffered the least pollution.

Excessive discharges of nitrogen and phosphor into the water, mainly because of overuse of fertilizers by farmers, and improper handling of wastes produced by livestock and poultry farms, were still leading causes of pollution in the lakes of Dianchi, Taihu and Chaohu.

The total amount of waste water discharged from factories and urban sewage systems reached 43.95 billion tons last year, an increase of 1.5 percent over the figure for 2001.

In 2002, the water quality in most of the marine areas in China maintained its good condition. But heavily-polluted sea areas could still be found in the East China Sea, which embraces the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, and Shanghai, and in the Bohai Gulf around which lie north China's major ports and industrial cities.

In 2002, red tides, caused by too much nitrogen and phosphorus in sea water, occurred 79 times in about 10,000 square kilometers, posing threats to oceanic ecosystems and fisheries.

The air quality of about two-thirds Chinese cities failed to meet the air quality standard for Grade II, although emissions of soot, industrial dust and other pollution were reduced.

Total suspended particles were blamed as the leading pollutant of urban air. Excessive sulfur dioxide in the air caused acid rain affecting many areas in the south last year, according to the report.

In 2002, the noise of traffic in 325 cities was monitored, and more than 60 percent had mild noise pollution. Nearly half of the monitored 319 cities suffered mild district noise.

Total domestic garbage reached 136.38 million tons, an increase of 1.2 percent over the previous year. The treatment rate was 54.3 percent.

The report said last year the overall environment in China was not affected by radioactive pollution and the quality of the radioactive environment was still at its previous level.

Last year 315 ecological test sites were established, with the forest area and storage amount kept on growing. The growth rate of afforestation areas was also greatly improved, said the report.

In 2002, droughts, storms, tropical storms and sandstorms were still the main climate disasters in China, and the loss caused by the climate disasters was between moderate and heavy, according to the report.

(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2003)

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