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Coastal Waters Cleaner in 2002
China's coastal waters became cleaner in general last year, but the sea pollution of some industrialized and densely-populated areas such as Shanghai and Zhejiang remained serious, according to a new environmental report released Thursday.

The State Environment Protection Administration report on the quality of the coastal environment of China in 2002 found the ratio of class-one and class-two waters, which stand for good quality, reached 49.7 percent, a rise of 8.3 percentage points over that of 2001. Heavily-polluted waters accounted for 35.9 percent of the total, dropping 10.5 percentage points.

The report cited Shanghai and Zhejiang Province, powerhouses of China's rapid economic growth, as having the most serious sea pollution among 11 coastal provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.

The East China Sea, which Shanghai and Zhejiang face, was the most heavily-polluted sea among four Chinese seas.

Shandong Province, which faces the Yellow Sea, and Guangxi and Hainan facing the South China Sea, had cleaner waters since the ratio of class-one and class-two waters were between 70 and 78 percent, said the report.

Major pollutants were inorganic nitrogen and phosphate, as well as oil and heavy metals including lead and cadmium. But average concentration of those pollutants decreased from the 2001 level in varying degrees.

Offshore fishery in China suffered economic losses amounting to at least 232 million yuan (US$28 million) due the sea pollution last year.

The report said four oil spills occurred last year, but the impact on the sea environment was reduced to the lowest level thanks to emergency measures to clean the oil.

(People's Daily March 7, 2003)

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