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China: Ministry of Ecology & Environment publishes water quality rankings of major cities

The top environmental watchdog in China, the Ministry of Ecology & Environment has published the water quality rankings of major cities across the country for the first time on Tuesday.

The Ministry has recently formulated the “Land Level” assessment in order to implement the requirements of the State Council’s “Water Pollution Prevention Action Plan”, and further strengthen the water environment quality information disclosure work of the surface water assessment section of the city level. MEE has now published the ranking as part of its efforts to pressure local governments to strengthen their efforts to improve water quality via media exposure.

According to the report, from January to March 2019 all of the 1940 national assessment sections were monitored using the separation model. A total of 1861 sections were actually monitored, and the remaining 79 sections were not monitored due to interruptions, traffic blockage, and sampling.

Commenting on overall water quality for March 2019, the results show that in 1940 national surface water evaluation sections (1788 measured), water quality was up 5.8 percentage points year-on-year at 74.3%, while the proportion of poor water quality was down 3.1 percentage points year-on-year.. and now stands at 5.5%. The main pollution indicators are total phosphorus, chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen.

For the water quality of each river basin, in March 2019 water quality sections of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River, the Pearl River, the Songhua River, the Huaihe River, the Haihe River, the Liaohe River, and the northwest Zhuhe, the southwestern rivers, and the Zhejing River were 75.4%, up 3.4 year-on-year, while the numbers for poor water quality was 5.8%, down 3.2 percentage points year-on-year.

Water quality of the southwestern rivers and the northwestern rivers is classified as excellent, the water quality of the Yangtze River Basin, the Zhejiang-Zhejiang River and the Pearl River Basin is good, and the Huaihe River, Songhua River, Yellow River, Liaohe River and Haihe River Basin are slightly polluted.

Surface water assessment rankings of cities at prefecture level and above

The ranking of prefecture-level and above cities covers 2050 national surface water assessment sections. From January to March of 2019, in the cities of prefecture-level and above, the water environment quality of surface water assessment sections of 30 cities including Ya’an, Laibin and Yunfu was relatively good (from 1st to 30th).

The rankings show that:

 

  • The water environment quality of the surface water assessment sections of 30 cities in Xingtai and other countries is relatively poor (from the first to the last 30th);
  • the water environment quality changes of the surface water assessment sections of 30 cities such as Siping, Changchun and Zhongshan are relatively better. Good (from the 1st to the 30th),
  • the water environment quality changes in the surface water assessment sections of 30 cities including Luliang, Yingkou and Zhangzhou are relatively poor (from the first to the last 30th).

The Ministry has a number of key aims:

  • To actively guide local governments to improve water quality and water pollution through rankings
  • To objectively reflect the status and changes of water environment quality in the surface water assessment section of urban countries
  • To protect the public’s right to know, and promote public participation in order to strengthen public opinion and force local governments to increase water pollution prevention and control through ranking information disclosure
  • To reflect the effectiveness  of local government work on water pollution prevention and control through rankings

The cities in this ranking are all prefecture-level and above cities with national surface water assessment sections. The 2050 national surface water assessment sections are mainly distributed in the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Pearl River, Songhua River, Huaihe River, Haihe River, Liaohe River, etc, the main rivers and key lakes of the three major areas, including the large river basin and the northwestern rivers, the southwestern rivers and the Zhejing tablets.

The ranking does not involve urban groundwater, black odorous water bodies or smaller rivers, lakes or reservoirs that do not have a national surface water assessment section.

Surface water quality is assessed against a range of 21 indicators, including water temperature, fecal coliforms and total nitrogen.

From the first quarter of 2019 onwards, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment will now conduct a quarterly ranking of the water environment quality status and changes of the surface water assessment sections of prefecture-level and above cities compared with the same period last year, and publicly release the following data:

  • top 30 of the national surface water assessment sections with relatively good water environment quality
  • the last 30 cities with relatively poor cities
  • the top 30 cities with relatively good improvement in water quality
  • the name of the water body where the surface water assessment section is located

The comparative analysis of environmental quality and sharing of water pollution control mutual experience is intended to strengthen local government efforts in water pollution prevention and control work and promote continuous improvement in national water quality.

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