Tuesday, February 9, 2010

China points to farms as major pollution risk

Agence France-Presse: China on Tuesday named pollution from farms as a major cause for concern, as the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases released its first nationwide survey on sources of environmental degradation. "There were some outstanding problems identified by this national census such as the high contribution to water pollution by agricultural sources," the State Council, or Cabinet, said in a statement.

China's rapid industrialisation has led to widespread environmental damage over the last 30 years, with the nation boasting some of the world's worst water and air pollution. But the report released Tuesday highlighted the specific problems caused by the 800 million Chinese living in the vast countryside, many of them on farms.

"We must make prevention and control of pollution from agricultural sources our top priority for environmental protection, to resolve the problem of water pollution in China at the root," said Zhang Lijun, vice minister for environmental protection. The census, based on data collected in 2007, found that nearly half of the nation's COD (chemical oxygen demand) discharge -- one of the key water pollutants in China -- came from agriculture.

COD is used to indirectly measure the amount of pollution in a water sample. A high COD reading means the water is short of oxygen and high on pollution, causing the death of other living organisms. According to Zhang, COD discharge from agricultural sources accounted for 43.7 percent of the nationwide total….

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