The country is taking action to protect its marine environment from land-based pollution by giving priority to controlling industrial pollution.
China has implemented up-to-standard controls over industrial pollution sources and has launched comprehensive pollution discharge registration work.
It has set up a dynamic registration database, established an online monitoring system of major pollution sources, strengthened supervision and checks of major pollution sources and has broadened the pollution discharge permit system.
Presently, it is concentrated on the formulation of the environmental bearing capacity of major watersheds and various types of environmental functional zones in cities.
Statistics show that with various control measures, 13,330 industrial pollution control projects were accomplished nationwide in 2005, with overall investment in wastewater treatment worth 13.37 billion yuan (US$1.7 billion).
The total discharge amount of industrial wastewater across the country stood at 24.31 billion tons, with the up-to-standard discharge rate of 91.2 per cent, among which the rate for that from large enterprises was 92.8 per cent, while small enterprises totalled 80.6 per cent. Compared with that of 2001, the discharge amount of industrial wastewater grew by 21.2 per cent, while the up-to-standard level surged by 5.6 percentage points.
On the other hand, China is speeding up its establishment of an urban wastewater treatment system.
By the end of 2005, 53 prefecture-level administrative regions in the coastal areas had already built 88 environmentally friendly waste treatment sites, with the decontamination amount of urban waste reaching 58,373 tons per day and an annual treatment capacity of 22.04 million tons.
In 2005, a total of 342 urban sewage treatment plants were completed or under construction in the prefecture-level and county-level administrative regions in the coastal areas, among which 197 plants were already established with a maximum daily handling capacity of 21.86 million cubic metres, 145 plants were under construction with the designed capacity of 8.02 million cubic metres per day.
By sticking to the principle of laying equal emphasis on both pollution control and ecological conservation, China is taking great efforts to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural activities in different localities.
Management over the rational use of pesticides and fertilizers has been strengthened in rural areas. Currently, the Bohai Bay area is promoting the application of environmentally friendly fertilizers, ecological prevention and control works.
The treatment and comprehensive use of waste produced by livestock and poultry breeding has been sped up.
The country is also paying attention to the control of pollution from ports and vessels, such as oil materials, toxic liquids, sewage and waste.
All the ports in the coastal areas are required to have recovery equipment for petroleum and wastewater collection. And in the harbours, discharge of oil-containing wastewater is prohibited.
To realize eco-conservation and rehabilitation of marine fishing, China has mapped out and implemented a number of plans including the 10th Five-Year Plan of National Fishery Development (2001-2005) and Fishery Resources and Eco-environmental Protection Project Planning.
The plans focus on ecological environmental protection of fishery resources and fishery sea areas and plan to fulfil the gradual rehabilitation of fishery resources and improvement of the ecological environment through such projects as a monitoring system for the ecological environment.
The Chinese Government has attached great importance to the conservation of the coastal eco-environment and launched a lot of works on the protection and rehabilitation of coastal wetlands, as well as the construction of wetland nature reserves and coastal protection forests.
China has even begun to establish nature reserves for coastal migrant birds, mangroves and wetlands and has set up 82 coastal wetland reserves of various levels, covering a total area of 3.965 million hectares.
By the end of 2004, China had already set up 120 marine nature reserves of various levels. Consequently, a group of rare marine species have been brought under protection including coral reefs, mangroves and seaweed beds.
The National Tourism Administration has actively conducted pollution control of tourist activities, with coastal regions and islands as the key areas.
China also takes strict measures to control pollution stemming from the exploitation of mineral resources in coastal regions.
China has initiated a survey of the geological environment and geological disasters of mines in coastal regions, stepped up the environmental protection of mines and controlled the emergence of new geological disasters and behaviour damaging the ecological environment.
By the end of 2005, 11 provinces and municipalities in coastal regions had conducted 123 projects on the treatment of mines, with a total investment of 389.91 million yuan (US$43 million).
The State Council has recently approved the Contingency Plan of Major Oil Spill Accidents in Offshore Petroleum Exploration to cope with possible emergent accidents during the process of offshore oil and gas exploitation. The emergency response mechanism targeting accidents in offshore oil exploitation has been initially established.
In order to heighten the supervision and management of waste dumping in the ocean and in light of the principles of "being scientific, rational, economical and safe," the maritime administrative department of the State Environmental Protection Administration employs strict examinations for the approval of new dumping areas.
Most of the military areas stationed in coastal areas are located in sensitive zones to marine pollution and belong to the key areas of marine environmental protection.
In recent years, all the troops of the PLA stationed in coastal regions have actively carried out extensive work including comprehensive environmental treatment in military camps of stationed troops, construction of shelter belts in military areas, construction of pollution prevention facilities and treatment facilities of various types of pollutants at military harbours.
China has set up an environmental monitoring network covering all marine areas and has established a multi-dimensional monitoring technical system for offshore sea areas composed of diverse monitoring approaches including satellite, airplanes, ships, floating marks and land-based stations.
Source: China Daily