Characteristic variation and original analysis of emergent water source pollution accidents in China between 1985 and 2013

China has suffered various water source pollution incidents in the past decades, which have resulted in severe threats to the safety of the water supply for millions of residents. From the aspects of quantity fluctuation, temporal volatility, regional inequality, pollutant category variation, and accident type differences, this study first characterises the current status of water source contaminations in China by analysing 340 pollution events for the period spanning from 1985 to 2013. The results show a general increase in the number of accidents during the period 1985-2006 and then a rapid decline starting in 2007. Spring and summer are high-incidence seasons for pollution, and the accident rate in developed southeastern coastal areas is far higher than that in the northwestern regions. Hazardous chemicals and petroleum are the most frequently occurring pollutants, whereas heavy metals and tailings are becoming emerging contaminants during occasional pollutions. Most of the accidents that occurred before 2005 were blamed on illegal emissions or traffic accidents; however, leakage in production has gradually become a major accident type in the past decade. Then, in combination with government actions and policy constraints, this paper explores the deep inducements and offers valuable insight into measures that should be taken to ensure future prevention and mitigation of emergent source water pollution.

Authors: Qu J, Meng X, Ye X, You H. ;Full Source: Environmental Science & Pollution Research International. 2016 Jul 11. [Epub ahead of print] ;