Chinese lakes less polluted after sanitation clean-up


Pollution levels in many Chinese lakes have declined somewhat from high levels in the past decade, helped by billion-dollar investments in urban sewers and waste water treatment.

Concentrations of phosphorous fell by a third from 2006 to 2014 in 862 freshwater lakes in China, although they remain above clean water levels, according to an article published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Phosphorous is vital to life, but high concentrations can trigger blooms of toxic algae that choke fish and other life. Man-made sources of phosphorous include waste water, livestock farming, aquaculture and chemicals.

The current decline in the most populated areas is due to improved sanitation facilities such as pipelines, waste water treatment plants and improved rural toilets, says Yan Lin, one of the authors of the report according to Reuters. Lin is a researcher at the Section for Catchment Processes at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).

Building good sanitation and sewage infrastructure is, according to Lin, key to stop phosphorous pollution, and these findings could guide other developing nations seeking ways to clean up vital freshwater resources.

Continue reading at Norwegian Institute for Water Research

Image via nature geoscience