Chinese Survey Reveals Widespread Coastal Pollution
The results of China’s eight-year national marine survey paint a disturbing picture of its coastal environment. The survey, launched in 2004 by the Chinese State Oceanic Administration (SOA) and completed in October, is the country’s “most comprehensive marine survey so far,” says Gao Kunshan, a marine ecologist at Xiamen University, who was not involved in the project.
It “provides a basis to protect and manage marine resources,” Liu Xigui, chief of the SOA, told China National Radio. But the unpublished survey shows that those resources are in dire straits, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency. Roughly 90% of coastal cities suffer from intermittent water shortages. China’s mangrove swamps have decreased in area by 73% and coral reefs by 80% since the 1950s, and coastal wetlands have shrunk by 57%. Nearly one-third of the loss in coastal wetland was due to land reclamation. “Future land-reclamation projects need to assessed more carefully,” says the report.