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Marine stations to go on bay-watch duty

By WANG QIAN (China Daily)

08:28, October 22, 2012

Three marine monitoring stations will be established in Bohai Bay, in a major anti-pollution project following recent oil spills, an official said.

The stations, the first will be built next year, will be sited along coastal areas in Tianjin, said Zhang Qiufeng, director of the Tianjin Marine Environmental Monitoring Center at the State Oceanic Administration.

"The new stations will monitor the bay collecting data daily on water temperature, pollution and salt content," Zhang said.

The stations will greatly improve forecasts and help coordinate emergency response measures, such as for an oil spill, Zhang said.

Tianjin currently has only one marine environment monitoring station, in Tanggu at the mouth of the Haihe River, but nearby development means that its ability to monitor the bay area has been diminished.

After a recent series of oil spills from offshore drilling platforms, Zhang said measures are urgently needed to protect Bohai Bay.

The bay once accounted for 40 percent of the country's fishing output, according to the State Oceanic Administration.

The Tianjin Marine Environmental Quality Bulletin said last year that coastal water near Tianjin does not meet standards for marine life or safe human use.

Along parts of the shoreline, including Jinzhou Bay, zinc levels have been detected 2,000 times the recommended safety limits, while lead readings were 300 percent above acceptable levels, it said.

Excessive factory discharge and land reclamation projects were the main reasons for the pollution, it said.

With significant oil and gas reserves in the bay, Tianjin became a key pilot area for economic development in 2006, following the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in Guangdong province and the Shanghai Pudong New Area.

Of the 39 offshore construction projects launched nationwide in August, 20 are located in Bohai Bay, according to the State Oceanic Administration.

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