Ministry of Environmental Protection of The People`s Republic of China

Ministry of Environmental Protection of The People`s Republic of China

MEP releases the state of environmental quality of China in the first half of this year

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Relevant MEP official today announced the state of environmental quality of China in the first half of 2013. Covering cities above prefecture level across China, the circular released monitoring results of air, acid rain, surface water, concentrated drinking water source areas, water quality in coastal waters and noise of function zones of key environmental protection cities.

First, urban areas faced a serious situation of air pollution. The assessment of six indicators including SO2, NO2, PM10, PM2.5, CO and O3 was conducted according to the 'Environmental Standard on Air Quality' (GB3095-2012). The results of the assessment show that, during the first half of 2013, the average days with up-to-standard air quality in the 74 cities accounted for 54.8%, and that with exceeding-standard air quality made up 45.2%, including 25.4% days of slight pollution, 9.5% medium pollution, 7.5% heavy pollution and 2.8% severe pollution. According to the comprehensive index assessment of air quality, cities suffering from air pollution included Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Handan, Baoding, Tangshan, Jinan, Hengshui, Xi'an, Zhengzhou and Langfang, while cities with better air quality included Haikou, Zhoushan, Huizhou, Lhasa, Fuzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Xiamen, Lishui and Jiangmen. In Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, days with up-to-standard air quality accounted for 31.0% on average, which was 23.8 percentage points lower than the average of these 74 cities, by contrast, days with severe pollution accounted for 26.2%, which was 15.9 percentage points higher than the average. The regional primary pollutant was PM2.5 followed by PM10 and O3. In the Yangtze River Delta, days with up-to-standard air quality accounted for 57.5% on average which was 2.7 percentage points higher than the 74 cities' average, and the primary pollutant was PM2.5 followed by O3. The average days with up-to-standard air quality in the Pearl River Delta accounted for 79.8%, which was 25 percentage points higher than the average, and PM2.5 and O3 were the primary pollutants.

Second, Northwest China, North China and other regions in China experienced eight dusty weather processes in 21 days. Affected by the dusty weather, air quality in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and other provinces exceeded the standard to different extent. Due to the dusty weather, the cumulative number of days with exceeding-standard air quality in key environmental protection cities reached 157 days, which was an increase of 6.8% compared to the same period of last year. In addition, the number of days with heavy pollution was 38 accumulatively, a hike of 245.5% compared to the corresponding period of last year. Cities, such as Lanzhou, Xi'ning, Yinchuan, Huhhot, Xi'an, Shizuishan and Jinchang, were hit badly by the dusty weather, with over seven dusty days during the first half of this year.

Third, the overall situation of acid rain pollution remained stable nationwide. Among 456 cities (districts, counties), 135 suffered from acid rain, accounting for 29.6%. 77 cities with the annual average pH of precipitation lower than 5.0 were polluted by heavy acid rain, accounting for 16.9% of the total cities, while 23 cities with the annual average pH of precipitation lower than 4.5 suffered from severe acid rain, accounting for 5.0%. Compared with the same period last year, the percentage of cities with acid rain, heavy acid rain and severe acid rain dropped by 0.7, 3.2 and 2.6 percentage points respectively. The acid rain areas covered about 9.6% of the nation's territory, of which the areas with heavy acid rain and severe acid rain accounted for 4.4% and 0.6% of the nation's territory respectively. The acid rain areas and heavy acid rain areas dropped by 2.9 and 1.1 percentage points year-on-year respectively. The acid rain was mainly recorded along the Yangtze River and in the south of the Yangtze River and the east of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, including provinces (cities) such as Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Fujian, Hunan and Chongqing.

Fourth, the surface water of China suffered from slight pollution in general. Among the 962 national surface water monitoring sections, 63.7% reached Grade I to Grade III standard of water quality, representing a year-on-year increase of 3.4 percentage points, and 11.5% were inferior to Grade V standard, which was a year-on-year decrease of 1.9 percentage points. The main pollution indicators were COD, TP and NH3, and the sections containing excessive amount of COD, TP and NH3 in surface water accounted for 24.4%, 20.9% and 16.8% respectively. In the first half of 2013, of the ten major river basins, sections with water quality between Grade I and Grade III and inferior to Grade V made up 69.3% and 10.8% respectively. Among the ten major river basins, water quality of the Pearl River Basin, the rivers in Southwestern China and the rivers in Northwestern China were excellent, that of the Yangtze River Basin and the rivers in Zhejiang and Fujian areas were good, while the Songhua River Basin, Huaihe River Basin and Liaohe River Basin were slightly polluted, the Yellow River Basin was moderately polluted, and the Haihe River Basin was heavily polluted. Compared with the same period of last year, water quality of the Haihe River Basin somewhat declined, that of Liaohe River Basin improved moderately, while that of other river basins virtually remained unchanged. Among these ten major river basins, the rivers in Northwestern China had the lowest average concentration of permanganate index, the same index of Haihe River however, was below Grade III water quality standard. The average concentration of NH3 of the rivers in Southwestern China was the lowest, while those of the Yellow River, Huaihe River and Haihe River were inferior to Grade III water quality standard.

Among the 61 key lakes (reservoirs) under national monitoring program, 42 had above-Grade III- standard water quality, accounting for 68.8%, 12 met Grade IV or Grade V standard, making up 19.7%, while seven had lower-than-Grade V-standard water quality, accounting for 11.5%. The main pollution indicators of water quality of lakes and reservoirs were TP, COD and permanganate index. The result of the trophic state assessment carried out in 58 lakes (reservoirs) shows that three of them (5.2%) were under intermediate eutrophication, ten (17.2%) were under slight eutrophication, and 45 (77.6%) were rated as either mesotrophication or oligotrophication. TN was monitored in 61 lakes (reservoirs) and the result indicates that TN concentrations in 12 lakes (reservoirs) were worse than Grade V standard water quality and that in 39 met the Grade III standard. Among the key lakes, the Taihu Lake and Chaohu Lake were slightly polluted and under slight eutrophication, while the Dianchi Lake was rated as heavy pollution and intermediate eutrophication. In contrast to the same period of last year, water quality of these lakes basically remained unchanged. Among the key reservoirs, water quality of the Lianhua Reservoir was inferior to Grade III standard, that of the Changtan Reservoir, Qiandao Lake, Shimen Reservoir, Taiping Lake, Xinfeng River Reservoir and Zhanghe Reservoir reached GradeⅠstandard, and that of the Danjiangkou Reservoir, Dongjiang Reservoir, Geheyan Reservoir, Huanglongtan Reservoir, Miyun Reservoir, Songtao Reservoir and Dahuofang Reservoir met GradeⅡ standard.

Excessive heavy metal was found 22 times in 12 national surface water monitoring sections (points). These points were mainly distributed in the Yongdingxinhe River, Yuhe River, Haihe River and North Grand Canal of the Haihe River Basin, the Tanglangchuan River of the Yangtze River Basin, the Weihe River of the Yellow River Basin, the Paihe River (one of Chaohu Lake's tributary), the Dalai Lake, the Yangzong Lake and the Hongze Lake. In terms of the administrative areas, these points were mainly located in Tianjin, Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, Anhui, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Jiangsu and etc. With respect to the pollution indicators, 'excessive mercury' was the most reported, accounting for 50.0% of the total number of heavy metal pollution incidents found in these points, and arsenic came the next, making up 36.4%. Among the 13 sections of five rivers in the 'manganese triangle' area, sections with excessive manganese accounted for 76.9%, and the exceeding multiples were between 0.4 to 3.7 times.

Fifth, 906 concentrated drinking water source areas, which provided a total of 14.78 billion tons of water drawing and served a population of 331 million were monitored in 326 cities above prefecture level. The results show that 97.3% of the total water intake, i.e. 14.38 billion tons of water, reached the required standard. Concentrated drinking water source areas in 263 cities met the standard of water quality, accounting for 85.9% of the total areas under monitoring.

Sixth, overall water quality in coastal waters was considered to be average and remained unchanged from that of last year. 66.7% coastal seawater reached Grade I or Grade II standard, representing a year-on-year decrease of 3.0 percentage points. 18.3% seawater reached Grade III or Grade IV standard, up by 6.9 percentage points year-on-year. Water quality of 15.0% seawater however, failed to meet the Grade IV standard, down by 3.9 percentage points year-on-year. Major pollution factors were inorganic nitrogen and active phosphate. Among the four major sea areas, seawater quality of the Baohai Sea was rated as average and that of the Yellow Sea and South China Sea was rated as good, the East China Sea however suffered from heavy pollution. Of the nine key bays, the Yellow River estuary and Beibu Bay enjoyed good water quality, the Jiaozhou Bay was rated as average, the Liaodong Bay was heavily polluted, and the Bohai Bay, Yangtze River estuary, Hangzhou Bay, Minjiang River estuary and the Pearl River estuary had very poor water quality.

Seventh, the up-to-standard rate of acoustic environment quality in various function zones in the 113 key environmental protection cities reached 90.6% at daytime and 68.4% at night. The up-to-standard rate of convalescent zones was 56.3% at daytime and 40.6% at night, that of residential zones was 89.4% at daytime and 70.6% at night, in mixed zones the percentage was 90.9% at daytime and 79.2% at night, in industrial zones the percentage was 97.9% at daytime and 87.7% at night, and in zones on both sides of arterial traffic the percentage became 87.0% at daytime and 35.9% at night.

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