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Official: China sees much less discharge of major pollutants

Environment
A recently completed environmental investigation shows that discharge of major pollutants in China dropped significantly over a 10-year-period from 2007 to 2017.

By Zhang Jiaqi

China SCIOUpdated: June 10, 2020

The discharge of major pollutants in China dropped significantly over the 10 years from 2007 to 2017, an environmental protection official said at a press briefing held by China's State Council Information Office (SCIO) on Wednesday.

Zhao Yingmin, vice minister of ecology and environment, speaks during an SCIO press conference in Beijing on June 10, 2020. [Photo/China SCIO]


According to Zhao Yingmin, vice minister of ecology and environment, China carried out two nationwide studies of pollution sources in 2007 and 2017, respectively. The 2017 study was completed recently after three years of efforts.

Compared with 2007, sulfur dioxide emissions, chemical oxygen demand, and nitrogen oxide emissions in 2017 decreased by 72%, 46%, and 34%, respectively, according to the study.

Zhao said China has achieved remarkable results in industrial restructuring. For major industries like papermaking, steel, and cement, outputs have increased by 61%, 50%, and 71%, respectively, but the chemical oxygen demand of the papermaking industry decreased by 84%, the sulfur dioxide emissions of the steel industry decreased by 54%, and the discharge of nitrogen oxides in the cement industry decreased by 23%.

Pollution control capacity also improved significantly over the 10 years, Zhao said. Data shows that the number of facilities for wastewater treatment, desulfurization, and dust removal in industrial enterprises in 2017 reached 2.4 times, 3.3 times, and five times that in 2007.

According to Zhao, a database for national pollution sources has been established during the period of study, cataloging more than 1,800 database tables, over 15,000 data fields, and over 150 million data records.


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