Environmental Protection  
  Discharge and Treatment of Waste Water, Waste Gas and Solid Wastes by Industry Enterprises at and Above County Level  
  Basic Situation of Natural Protection Work by Region (2000)  


In 2001, among the 340 cities under monitoring, 117 were up to second-grade standard in terms of air quality, accounting for 34.4 percent of the total, down 1.2 percentage points from 2000; 114 were up to the third-grade standard, constituting 33.5 percent, up 3.6 percentage points; and the rest that failed to reach the third-grade standard made up 32.1 percent, down 2.3 percentage points. Particles remained to be the main air pollutant in Chinese cities. Of the 47 key cities designated for environmental protection, some suffered worsening sulfur dioxide pollution and the proportion of cities that surpassed the set standard increased. Some 9.5 percent of the 273 cities that conducted monitoring of noise from road traffic suffered serious noise pollution, and 50.5 percent of the 210 cities that conducted monitoring of community noise enjoyed more comfortable living environment as compared to the standard set for acoustic noise in urban living quarters. A total of 3,314 smoke/dust control zones were established nationwide, covering 20,000 square km, and 3,121 zones were up to the noise control standard, covering more than 10,000 square km.

Pollution was still serious in major river systems. In terms of the surface water quality of the mainstreams in seven major river valleys, 51.7 percent sections were up to class-III of national standard for surface water quality in 2001, down 6 percentage points from 2000; 26.1 sections met class-IV water quality standard, up 4.5 percentage points; and 12.8 percent sections class-V water quality standard, equal to the level of the previous year. The sections with water quality surpassing class-V standard made up 9.4 percent, up 1.5 percentage points. The seawater quality in offshore areas remained stable. Of the 357 offshore water quality monitoring spots, 12.2 percent met the national standard for first-grade seawater quality; 27.8 percent attained the second-grade standard; 18.6 percent the third-grade standard; and 12.5 percent the fourth-grade standard. Those with water quality below the fourth-grade standard accounted for 28.9 percent.

Greater efforts were made in ecological environment conservation. By 2001, China had approved 82 national-level ecological demonstration zones. There were 215 pilot areas for the establishment of ecological demonstration zones. China had 1,551 nature reserves, including 171 at the national level. These nature reserves covered 144.72 million hectares, or 14.4 percent of the country's total land area.