Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Livestock Pollution Targeted by Environment Ministry

A Xinhua News Service article on Dec. 5 was headlined "Ministry of Environmental Protection: Livestock and Poultry Industry Have Become the Leading Source of Agricultural Pollution." This follows Shandong's widely-publicized introduction of livestock regulations several days earlier. Apparently, there is a campaign to clean up pollution from livestock and poultry.

The Dec. 5 article announces that the Ministry of Environmental Protection organized a meeting of representatives from provincial environmental protection departments for training on control of pollution from livestock and poultry and to discuss coordination in agricultural development and environmental protection. The meeting was held in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia.

The article reports that the first census on pollution sources showed that commercial-scale livestock and poultry farms were the leading source of agricultural pollution and a major contributor to water pollution. These farms produced 243 million metric tons of waste and 163 million metric tons of urine in 2007. The pollution from livestock "seriously affects the environment of villages and towns and peoples’ health.

The article cites World Health Organization and FAO data, which says there are over 90 diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

The director of the Ministry's pollution control office gave a pessimistic view of the prospects. He explained that "...livestock and poultry pollution prevention work still has many problems, such as establishment of regulations and standards is lagging behind, management mechanisms are imperfect, funding is seriously inadequate, there is no way to implement effective administration and monitoring, poor technical dissemination and service systems, and a shortage of grassroots managers.

The article is perhaps a signal to local officials that they need to start paying more attention to controlling livestock pollution. The article concludes by noting that "...rural household waste treatment and reducing pollution from large scale livestock and poultry farms are a key point in the 12th five-year plan. Each level of local government will issue regulations and guidelines, developing special programs for addressing livestock and poultry pollution."

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