While the ConocoPhillips oil spill this summer and last year’s Dalian pipeline explosion have focused attention on pollution in the Bohai Sea, its problems reach both further back and further afield. From Caixin online:
80 percent of the sea’s pollution comes from land sources, including factories and city sewage plants, said Xia Qing, a researcher at the China Environmental Science Research Institute and head of the organizational group that drafted a Bohai Sea Environmental Master Plan ….
Scientists say the Bohai Sea has played the role of a “pollution sink” for a large swathe of modern China. About 45 rivers empty into the sea, and several major channels including the Haihe, Yellow and Liaohe rivers are major channels for manmade discharges including sewage.
Moreover, thousands of sewage outlets empty directly into the sea, including those for factories in industrial zones built in recent years in Shandong, Tianjin, Hebei and Liaoning. Many of these factories have been cited for high levels of pollution.
Aside from industrial pollutants, the sea suffers from a diminished influx of fresh water, which brings its own problems:
One proof of deteriorating conditions is the shrinkage of the heavily tapped Yellow River before it reaches the sea. The Yellow is the sea’s most important river, but so little water winds up reaching the sea that salinity levels in the Bohai have risen to the point of seriously inhibiting fish spawning.