Report On the State of the Environment In China
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Marine Environment


In 2002, environmental quality in most marine area in China remained good in general. The area with seawater quality not reaching the standard for Grade I was about 174,000 square kilometers, basically the same as compared with the previous year. Of this, the areas with water quality reaching Grade II, Grade III, Grade IV and worse than Grade IV were 111,000, 20,000, 18,000 and 26,000 square meters, respectively. As compared with the previous year, the area with water quality worse than Grade IV reduced to some extent. Some parts of the offshore areas were still seriously polluted. 

Water Quality in Offshore Area

In 2002, the pollution in the offshore areas was alleviated to some extent. The area with seawater quality reaching Grade I or II covered 49.7%, an increase by 8.3 percent as compared with that in the previous year; The area with seawater quality reaching or worse than Grade IV was 35.9%, decreasing by 10.5 percent. The main pollution indicators in the offshore areas were inorganic nitrogen and activated phosphates. Petroleum, COD and lead in some areas exceeded the standards. In very few areas, heavy metals like copper, mercury and cadmium exceeded the standards.

Among the four large oceanic areas, the water quality in Yellow Sea and South China Sea was relatively good, while the water quality in East Sea and Bohai Sea was relative poor. 

The sea areas of Yingkou, Panjin, Mouth of Yangtse River, Hangzhou Bay, Sanmen Bay, Leqing Bay, Quanzhou Bay and the Nine-dragon River Mouth were seriously polluted with seawater quality worse than Grade IV standard. The seawater quality in Dandong, Dalian Bay, Gourd Island, Yantai, scenic spots in Qingdao, Rizhao, Nantong, Dongshan Bay, Zhaoan Bay, Meizhou Bay and offshore area of Sanya was relatively good. 

Classification of Offshore Seawater Quality in 2002

Percentage of Seawater Meeting Standard for Grade I,II in Four Major Oceanic Areas

Red Tides

In 2002, a total of 79 red tide incidents were recorded over the entire marine area of China. The accumulated area exceeded 10,000 square kilometers. Among these, 51 red tide cases were found in East China Sea, with accumulated area exceeding 9,000 square kilometers. 17 red tide cases were found in Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea, with accumulated area near 600 square kilometers. 11 red tide cases were found in South China Sea, with accumulated area about 540 square kilometers.

In some areas, the toxic red-tide algae like alexandrium and Gymnodrium was detected for many times, and toxic red tides were detected in small scale. 

The characteristics of the red tide incidents occured in 2002: The red tide emerged earlier and lasted for longer time. Their areas were centralized, and the number of occurrence increased. The peak period for red tide occurrence was from May to July. The occurrence of red tide incidents in large areas concentrated in the mouth of Yellow River and the coastal areas and offshore of Zhejiang and Fujian. The species of red tide organisms were mostly skeletonema costatum, noctiluca scintillans and prorocentrum triestinum. Red tide incidents occurred in small area caused by mesodinium rubrum were found in Bohai Sea and East China Sea. 

Measures and Actions

"No Phosphorus" Action around Bohai Sea region

In the four provinces and municipality in conjunction with Bohai Sea, the program of banning the use of detergents containing phosphorus was comprehensively implemented. Since its implementation, the content of activated phosphates in the seawater of Bohai Sea declined to some extent, and no large red tide incidents occurred in Bohai Sea. 

Establishment of local environmental monitoring stations in coastal areas

In order to strengthen the construction of environmental monitoring networks in the coastal areas, SEPA approved the establishment of 7 environmental monitoring stations in coastal regions of Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Xiamen, Zhoushan, Shenzhen and Beihai, which were affiliated to the National Environmental Monitoring Station of China. 

Weekly reporting of seawater quality of swimming places during the summer

From July to September in 2002, SEPA organized water quality monitoring at the seawater swimming places in major coastal cities, and issued 13 weekly reports on water quality of the seawater in swimming places. 

Prevention and reduction of red tide disasters

The State Oceanic Bureau established the red tide monitoring and control areas in 7 coastal provinces, and conducted effective monitoring and early warning activities for prevention and reduction of red tides. The economic losses caused by red tides were significantly reduced. In Fujian province only, the economic losses decreased by 90 million Chinese Yuan as compared with that in the previous year. 

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