Sewage discharges get failing grade

A large number of sites discharging sewage into the ocean are violating environmental standards, the State Oceanic Administration revealed.

 

Up to 106 out of the 202 spots checked in March, including industrial and urban sewage discharging spots, failed to meet the standard. [File photo]

More than half of the country's seaside sewage discharge sites tested in March, and more than one-third tested in May, fell short of standards, the administration said in a report last week.

Up to 106 out of the 202 spots checked in March, including industrial and urban sewage discharging spots, failed to meet the standard.

Among the 46 spots tested in May, 17 spots failed, with the main pollutants being suspended matter and fecal coliform.

Water quality in 13 of the 17 key rivers running into the sea in the country tested as either unusable, or usable only in industrial parks or for entertainment without human contact.

The majority of the tests at 18 aquaculture bases from April to June indicated they were suitable for the aquaculture industry and human contact.

In Guangdong province, about 38 percent of the seaside sewage discharge spots failed to meet the environmental standard last year, the provincial oceanic and fishery administration said in a report last week.

The eight major rivers in Guangdong carried 1.08 million tons of crude oil-related substances, nutrient salt, heavy metals and arsenic into the sea in 2010.

About 4,150 sq km, or 8.5 percent of the sea off Guangdong, was seriously polluted, a slight drop from the previous year.

A priority in addressing sea pollution should be placed on the discharge of heavy metals, which poses serious harm to the food chain from sea life to humans, according to Li Bo, director of Friends of Nature, an environmental group.

The task is by no means an easy one, since numerous businesses are located along the coast, and GDP growth often comes out on top of environmental protection for the local governments, Li said.

The economy, including the fishing, food, pharmaceutical and tourism industries, eventually suffer from the pollution.

Since the public's awareness of environmental protection of the ocean remains weak and school education and non-governmental groups on the issue are not sufficient, the government should do more to improve the situation, Li said.

XINHUANEWS    Jane