Report On the State of the Environment In China
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Environmental Management

Environmental Pollution and Damage Accidents

In 2002, a total of 11 extremely serious or serious pollution accidents occurred across the country, leading to 12 people died and almost 3000 people poisoned and hospitalized. The direct economic losses reached several million Chinese Yuan, and resulted in a certain harm to the environment and the society. 

There were 8 cases of poisoning gas leakage (2 cases of chlorine gas leakage, 2 cases of H2S leakage, 1 case of burning of bromide, naphthalene, P2O5 and yellow phosphorus each), and 3 accidents of water pollution. Among these, 9 cases were resulted from improper safety management in the enterprises, while the other 2 cases were caused by traffic accidents.


Environmental Policies and Legislation

On October 29, 2002, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress promulgated the Law on Environmental Impact Assessment and the Law on Promotion of Cleaner Production. The State Council promulgated the Ordinance on Management of Collection and Use of Pollutant Discharge Fees.

SEPA formulated the Regulation on Classified Management of Environmental Protection for Construction Projects and the Regulation on Review and Approval of Environmental Protection Documents for Construction Projects. SEPA also promulgated the Technologies and Policies for Prevention and Control of Pollution Caused by Sulfur Dioxide Emission from Coal Combustion. 

The study on environmental protection strategies for the new century was conducted. The Report on Strategy of National Environmental Safety was completed.

SEPA seriously investigated and dealt with a series of significant cases of environmental law violation, and handled two cases for environmental administrative reconsideration.

International Environmental Cooperation and Exchanges

In 2002, the Chinese delegations attended important international meetings, including the World Summit on Sustainable Development; the 6th COP on Biodiversity Convention, the 6th COP on Basel Convention; the Environment Minister’s Meeting of ASEAN, the Tri-partite Environmental Minister's Meeting among China, Japan and South Korea; the 6th INC on Stockholm Convention; and the 2nd Review Meeting on Nuclear Safety Convention. China successfully hosted the Asia-Europe Environment Minister's Meeting, the 2nd Assembly of GEF, the 1st Meeting of the 3rd Phase CCICED, the 11th Meeting on Environmental Cooperation in Northeast Asia, and other international meetings. China and UNEP jointly organized the international commemorative activities for the World Environment Day. 

Progress was achieved in bilateral cooperation with Japan, Canada, Norway, France, the United States and Netherlands. Several cooperative projects using foreign funds and under non-governmental cooperation were developed; the environmental cooperation agreements or MOUs were signed with Morocco, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Slovakia and Sweden. The environmental dialogues with EU and ASEAN were conducted. China actively participated in regional cooperation including the network for monitoring acid deposition in East Asia, the Action Plan on Northwest Pacific Ocean, and UNEP/GEF Project for Reversing the Deterioration of Environment in South China Sea and Thailand Bay. China was also involved in the negotiation on trade and environment in the new round of WTO negotiation. The cooperation with international organizations and multilateral financial agencies like UNEP, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and GEF was further strengthened. 

           Mr. Xie Zhenhua, the Minister of SEPA, was honorably awarded
the Global  Environment Leadership Award for 2002 by the Global Environment Facility.

Investigation and Evaluation on Ecological Retirement of Sloping Arable Lands in Western Regions

The Ministry of Land Resources organized 12 western provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities to conduct an investigation and evaluation on the ecological retirement of sloping arable land in western regions. The result showed that there were 4.27 million hectares of arable land with a slope above 25°, accounting for 8.8% of the total arable land area in the west regions. There were also 9.08 million hectares of arable land with a slope between 15 and 25 degrees. The total area of the above two types of sloping arable land were 13.36 million hectares, about 27.6% of the total arable land in the western regions. 

Among these, 3.87 million hectares with a slope above 25 degrees and 2.1 million hectares with a slope between 15 and 25 degrees were not suitable for cultivation. A total of 5.96 million hectares of sloping arable land should be retired gradually. 

Environmental Management of Construction Projects

In 2002, there were 237,225 new construction projects in the nation. Among these, 233,080 projects were conducted environmental impact assessment, a ratio of 98% of the total projects. The investment on environmental protection for these construction projects totaled 200.49 billion Chinese Yuan, accounting for 0.6% of the total project investment in the same period. SEPA reviewed a total of 360 construction projects, including 245 industrial projects and 115 ecological construction projects. 

In 2002, SEPA implemented environmental supervision for the first time on 13 national key projects including the construction of Qinghai-Tibet railway, West-to-east gas transmission, Yuhuai railway and Gongbo Valley hydra-power plant.

In 2002, 100,298 projects were completed and commissioned in China, including 53,287 projects which were required to implement the "three simultaneousness" policy. A total of 51,196 projects passed the review on the "three simultaneousness", accounting for 96.1%. Among these, SEPA checked and accepted 120 projects in the year. The capacity of wastewater treatment increased by 490,000 tons per day, and the capacity of waste gas treatment increased by 469.9 billion cubic meters per hour, resulting in COD reduction of 35,900 tons per year and the industrial dust reduction of 6,202 tons per year. 

In 2002, SEPA conducted for the first time a selection of "Top 100 Good Construction Projects" regarding their environmental protection efforts. A total of 111 qualified projects nationwide participated in the selection. 


Creation of National Environmental Protection Model Cities

In 2002, in accordance with the criteria for national environmental protection model cities, SEPA examined and awarded the title of environmental model city to 6 cities including Rushan and Jiaozhou in Shangdong province, Shaoxing in Zhejiang province, Haimen and Yangzhou in Jiangsu province, and Changchun in Jilin province. As of the end of 2002, the total number of national environmental protection model cities reached 30, and the number of urban district awarded the title was 2. Weihai City in Shangdong province and all of its affiliated cities including Rongcheng, Wendeng and Rushan were awarded the title of national environmental protection model cities, therefore, forming the first cluster of national environmental protection model cities in China.

Improvement Water Supply and Sanitary Facilities in Rural Areas

In 2002,the population with access to tap water was increased by 23.08 million. 6.56 million sanitary privies were newly constructed. The diffusion rates of running water supply and sanitary toilets was increased by 1.5% and 2.6% respectively, which was helpful to the prevention and control of water-borne transmitted diseases and intestinal infectious diseases.

According to the most recent statistics, 91.7% of 947 million rural people in China benefited from the improved water supply. 646 thousand waterworks or tank stations have been established in rural areas, most of which are small sized waterworks/ tank stations equipped with daily water supply capacity of less than 1000 tons and supplying drinking water to 536.52 million rural people, or 56.6% of the total rural population. There are 66.15 million sets of manually operated motor-pumped wells, providing drinking water to 209.17 million rural people, or 22.1% of the total rural population. 1.56 million rainwater collecting cellars were constructed in 20 provinces and autonomous regions, storing drinking water for 11.88 million people, or 1.3% of the rural population. The drinking water supply for 110.73 million people has been primarily improved by other means of water supply renovation. Nevertheless, the water quality supplied by other means in most cases could not meet the hygienic standard for drinking water.

48.7% of 247.88 million rural families have built varied forms of sanitary toilets. In addition, 9.84 million families are using newly constructed public toilets in line with hygienic standard. The rate for sound management of excrement in rural areas reached 52.6%.

Prevention and Control of Endemic Diseases

In the past years, the prevention and control of endemic diseases achieved great success, as the Party and the governments at different levels attached great importance to the issue. The phased target for elimination of diseases caused by low iodine was basically achieved across the country. Remarkable progress was also made in the prevention and control of endemic diseases caused by fluorine and arsenic. About 80% of the regions having Kashin Back disease and Keshan disease reached the national control standards, and the seriousness of the illness delined steadily. Significant achievement was also made in the prevention and control of schistosomiasis. Five provinces, autonomous regions and municipality including Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Shanghai and Zhejiang eliminated the schistosomiasis. 74% of the counties (towns and districts) having schistosomiasis reached the standards for interdiction and control of its spreading.

Development of Renewable Energy in Rural Areas

310 million yuan from the central budget and infrastructure construction fund was invested in biological and well-off community projects, such as the development of bio-gas, solar energy, improvement of fire-woods and coal efficiency, and etc. in 1877 villages of 428 counties in China, which benefited over 400,000 rural families. By the end of 2002, application had been widely promoted in the following areas: household biomass pools built for 11.09 million rural families, 1301 large- and medium-scaled biomass projects in stock-farms, 115,000 biomass pools constructed for domestic sewage purification, 180 million families benefited from improved fire-woods and coal combustion facilities, 16.21 million m2 of solar energy water heater, 11.94 million m2 of solar house, and 480,000 sets of solar cookers.

Organic Food, Green Food and Pollution-free Agricultural Products

To promote sound and orderly development of the management of organic food in China, in 2002, the Organic Food Approval Committee certified 8 organic food certification institutions and held training workshop for state registration inspectors of organic food two times. 

In 2002, SEPA formally approved Panjin city of Liaoning province to be the first national organic food production demonstration base. The establishment of the demonstration base indicated a step forward for China in the aspect of construction and development of organic food bases. According to the statistics of SEPA Organic Food Development Center, 1.5 million mu of land was certified in 2002, among which 300 thousand mu had been converted to organic land. This created the opportunity to speed up the development of organic food in China. 

Ministry of Agriculture stipulated a series of documents to promote and guarantee the development of green food and pollution free agricultural products, such as Comments on Speeding up the Development of Organic Food, Management Measures on Pollution Free Agricultural Products and etc. The use of 18 types of pesticide, 29 types of beast drugs and 39 types of fish drugs were banned. The use of 19 types of pesticide, 8 types of beast drugs and 5 types of fish drugs were restricted. 122 sector standards for pollution free food and 4 standards for organic tea were promulgated.

Environmental Standards, Norms and Technical Specifications

In 2002, 18 environmental standards were revised and promulgated, including 12 national standards such as “Water Quality Standard for Surface Water” and etc., and 6 sector standards, such as “Technical Specifications for Monitoring of Surface Water and Wastewater” and etc.

5 technical specifications for certification of products with environmental label were promulgated.

Investment for National Environmental Pollution Treatment

In 2002, the total investment on pollution treatment in the country was 136.34 billion Yuan, an increase of 23.2% compared with that in the previous year. Among that, the investment on construction of urban environmental infrastructure was 78.53 billion Yuan, an increase of 31.8% compared with that in the previous year. The investment for treatment of industrial pollution sources was 18.84 billion Yuan. The investment on “three simutaneousness” for newly constructed projects was 38.97 billion Yuan, an increase of 15.8% compared with that in the previous year. The investment on pollution treatment in 2002 accounted for 1.33% of the GDP.

Construction of Urban Infrastructure Facilities

By the end of 2002, there were 660 cities in the country with the total population of 353.4378 million. Among that, 220.6002 million were people not engaged in agriculture. The area of the cities was 464.772 thousand square kilometers with 25.97255 thousand square kilometers of constructed area. The density of the population in cities reached to 760 people per square kilometer. 

At the end 2002, the green area in constructed districts of the cities was 772.749 thousand hectares, an increase of 13.3% compared with that last year. The green coverage rate increased from 28.4% last year to 29.8%. The public green areas in cities of China reached to 188.536 thousand hectares, an increase of 25.513 thousand hectares compared with that in the previous year. The public green area per capita in cities was 5.33 square meters, an increase of 0.77 square meters compared with that of the previous year. 

The newly increased production capacity or efficiencies were as the following: 8.18 million cubic meter of daily comprehensive production capacity for water supply, 4.03 million cubic meters of daily production capacity for coal gas, 2.8 million cubic meters of storage capacity for natural gas, 6859 kilometers of urban road, 7.07 million cubic meters of daily treatment capacity for urban sewage, 14.388 thousand tons of daily treatment capacity for municipal garbage. 

In 2002, the total volume of water supply in cities reached to 46.6 billion cubic meters, the same as that in the previous year. The volume of water consumption for production operation was 2.09 billion cubic meters, accounting for 44.8% of the total volume of water supply, a decrease of 1.2 billion cubic meters compared with that in the previous year. The volume of water consumption for public service in the year was 6.2 billion cubic meters, accounting for 13.4% of the volume of water supply. The volume of water consumption for households was 15 billion cubic meters, accounting for 32.2% of the volume of water supply compared with 31.1% in 2001. The urban population consuming water was 273.3591 million. The popularization rate of urban water consumption was 77.3%, an increase of 5.08 percent compared with that in the previous year. The daily domestic water consumption per capita was 213 liters, a decrease of 3 liters compared with that in the previous year. In 2002, the volume of water saved in cities was 3.7 billion cubic meters. The volume of recycled industrial water reached to 46.1 billion cubic meters. 

In 2002, the total volume of coal gas supplied reached to 19.9 billion cubic meters, an increase of 6.2 billion cubic meters compared with that in the previous year. The total volume of natural gas supplied was 12.6 billion cubic meters, an increase of 2.6 billion cubic meters compared with that in the previous year. The total volume of LPG supplied was 11.36 million tons, an increase of 1.54 million tons compared with that in the previous year. The number of people consuming gas in cities was 236.541 million. The popularization rate reached to 66.9%, an increase of 6.5% compared with that in the previous year. 

At the end of 2002, the capacity of heat supply by steam was 83.346 tons per hour. The capacity of heat supply by hot water was 148.498 thousand MW. The area of central heating reached to 1.53767 billion square meters, an increase of 5.1% compared with that in the previous year.

Forecast of the Grade of Forest Fires

In 2002, the State Meteorological Center, Satellite Meteorological Center and related provincial (regional) Meteorological Bureaus started to develop and promote meteorological monitoring and early-warning technology for prevention of forest fire. The meteorological departments located in major forest regions set up meteorological service system for prevention of forest fire and provided meteorological services to forestry departments and armed police forest command center.

The Closure of Mountains and Prohibition of Grazing in Certain Regions

The decision was made to ban grazing in the whole province or region by Shaanxi, Ningxia and Hebei provinces and region. The area of grassland fenced, suspended for grazing, rotated for grazing and banned for grazing reached to 156 million mu, accounting for 16.35% of the area of usable grassland. Shanxi provincial government issued the Decision on the Implementation of Mountain Closure and Grazing Ban to Treat Soil Erosion Areas to conduct overall closure of mountains and prohibition of grazing in key treatment areas. Qinghai provincial government issued the decision of “ three closures and two prohibitions”.

Investigation of the State of Eco-environment in Middle-Eastern Regions

Due to frequent human activities and long history of development and utilization of resources, the ecological problems in middle-eastern regions was rather serious under the influence of natural and human factors. The ecological problems at early stage has been turned round. New ecological problems emerged rapidly. The artificial eco-environment has been improved, however, the degradation of original eco-environment is accelerated. The singly type ecological problems have been controlled to certain extent, but systematic ecological problems is getting more and more serious. Simple ecological problems have been solved, nevertheless, sophisticated ecological problems become outstanding. Overall speaking, the degradation of ecology has been alleviated to certain extent, but the essence of the ecological degradation has not been changed. The trend of ecological deterioration is exacerbated. The ecological disaster is severe and the ecological problems are more and more complicated. The state of eco-environment is not optimistic. 

The concrete reflections are as the following:
1) the area of arable land decreases year by year with few occupation of arable land per capita. The use of the land is unsteady and the quality keeps decreasing. Soil pollution is rather serious in certain areas. 
2) Soil erosion was preliminarily controlled and the erosion area decreased. However, there were big regional differences of soil erosion. The soil erosion in certain areas kept aggravating. The treatment task was tedious. 
3) The coverage rate of forest increased continuously with the expansion of the forest area. However, the eco-system of forest faced the situation of quantitative increase and qualitative decrease with single forest age, single types of trees and simple structure of forest. The essential problems of forest, such as poor quality, serious diseases and pests, and the degradation of eco-functions, were not changed. 
4) The development and utilization of water resources was intensified with low utilization rate. The water shortage caused by the lack of water resources, by poor water quality and by consumption of water for engineering coexisted. The drain of rivers and subsidence of earth not only occurred in northern regions lacking of water resources, but also occurred in southern regions with comparatively rich water resources.
5) Lakes shrank, beaches disappeared, and natural wetland drained. The water retaining and adjustment capacity decreased. Flood and drought occurred frequently. The water ecology was seriously unbalanced.
6) The change of the living environment of animals and plants, the crack of the habitats and the invasion of alien species caused the danger of many wild species and the loss of genetic resources. 
7) The eco-environment of cities and towns were more and more artificial. The self-adjustment capacity of ecosystem was low and its functions were weak. Various urban ecological problems, such as air pollution, noise, water pollution, garbage and hot island effects, became outstanding. 
8) The agricultural non-point source pollution and non-industrial point source pollution caused by irrational use of pesticide, fertilizer and membrane and intensive livestock production were serious. The problem of food safety caused by irrational use of chemicals became increasingly outstanding. 
9) The area of deteriorated land and the land occupied by exploitation of mines kept increasing, making serious “ three wastes” pollution and causing severe secondary geological disaster. 
10) The natural transitional belt between ocean and land was serious damaged. The erosion of seacoast was obvious. The area of beaches sharply shrank. The water quality of coastal areas decreased. The frequency of the occurrence of red tides increased.

Water Environment
Marine Environment
Atmospheric Environment
Acoustic Environment
Solid Wastes
Radiative Environment
Arable Land / Land Resources
Climate and Natural Disasters
Environmental Management