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May 13th, 2012:

Shenzhen seas seriously polluted


Only 38pc of coastal waters off the city found to be clean, 2011 study by urban planning body shows
Sally Wang
May 13, 2012

Nearly half of Shenzhen’s coastal waters were found to be seriously contaminated last year, and nine sewage drainage lines were found to be discharging excessive pollutants, according to a maritime study.

A professor of marine chemistry says the problem could worsen this year, as some temporary efforts to improve water quality last year for the World University Games are no longer in effect.

The 2011 study, issued on Wednesday by Shenzhen’s Urban Planning and Land Resources Commission, found a total of 565 square kilometres of seriously contaminated seawater. Of the remaining waters, 145 square kilometres were lightly or moderately polluted, and 435 square kilometres were clean.

The contaminated waters were concentrated in Deep Bay and at the mouth of the Pearl River. Inorganic nitrogen and phosphates were the major pollutants.

Though the report covered only waters off Shenzhen, Professor Xu Hong , who has taught marine chemistry at Shenzhen University, said that the contaminated water could make its way to other areas, including Hong Kong.

He blamed illicit discharging of pollutants, along with a lack of oversight, for the heavy pollution. “The government has been addressing excessive discharge through campaigns rather than regular monitoring and checks,” he said.

Xu said rapidly increasing pollution caused the high contamination levels in waters of western Shenzhen.

In comparison, seawater quality in the city’s east was found to be much better. In Dapeng and Daya bays, both in east Shenzhen, the contamination level was in the first and second categories of the national seawater standards, indicating relatively clean water. But the water in Deep Bay – also known as Shenzhen Bay – and the mouth of the Pearl River was in the fourth category, the worst.

Excessively polluting sewage drains were found responsible for seriously contaminated water near the Kuichong River in the east, and near a sewage-treatment plant in the western Shekou Industrial Zone.

Nitrogen and phosphorus discharged from domestic sewage lines near Deep Bay and the mouth of the Pearl River, coupled with excessive heavy metals from industrial waste in the city’s western region, are adversely affecting the marine ecosystem, the study found. There has also been oil pollution from the city’s busy ports.

The water quality was better last year than in 2010, according to the report, which pointed to the efforts made ahead of the World University Games the city hosted in August.

Most areas off Shenzhen where seafood and other marine products are farmed met safety standards, as they are mostly in the east.

The two major beaches in the city, at the Dameisha and Xiaomeisha seaside resorts, also recorded good water quality last year, with the waters of Dameisha good for swimming for about 82 per cent of the 190 monitored days from April to October, while in Xiaomeisha the waters were good more than 93 per cent of the time.

Beijing adviser calls for C.Y. to assert executive’s role


Hong Kong does not have a separation of powers with legislature and judiciary, Zhu Yucheng says

Dennis Chong
May 13, 2012

Chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying should strengthen the executive-led system of government after he takes office in July, a top adviser to Beijing says.

Zhu Yucheng , a former deputy director of Xinhua in Hong Kong, made the suggestion a day after pan-democrats succeeded in delaying a Legislative Council debate on a by-elections bill for the second week running.

“What we have to pay attention to now is the original meaning of ‘one country, two systems’,” Zhu said yesterday on the sidelines of the opening of Tsinghua University’s first Hong Kong and Macau affairs think tank. “The political system [of Hong Kong] is an executive-led system, not a separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary.

“Leung will have an advantage [in implementing this principle] as he did a large amount of research and investigation when the Basic Law was drafted.”

Zhu, a close ally of former vice-president Zeng Qinghong – who was in charge of Hong Kong affairs prior to Vice-President Xi Jinping – served in Hong Kong at a time when the official news agency performed a similar role to that of the central government’s liaison office today. He also helped form a think tank under the State Council to promote stability in Hong Kong and Macau soon after the 500,000-strong anti-government march on July 1, 2003.

Zhu (pictured) is an adviser to the new Tsinghua University Hong Kong and Macau Study Centre in Shenzhen. The university, traditionally strong in science and engineering, has appointed dean of law Wang Zhenmin to lead the centre. It will run training courses for civil servants in collaboration with government bodies.

Another Beijing adviser, Lin Tai, a professor of social sciences at the university, said Leung must take responsibility for pushing through policies, as civil servants had faced difficultiesafter the handover when trying to turn ideas into reality.

On the issue of mainland mothers-to-be visiting Hong Kong to give birth, Wang said the city’s government should explore all executive or legal means before considering taking up the issue with Beijing for a reinterpretation of the Basic Law. “It should be handled by the Special Administrative Region government … through executive and legal means,” he said. “If it is handled locally, there is no need for a reinterpretation.”

A spokeswoman for the new centre said it would advise on “strategic” issues and the long-term development of the country, as well as deepening co-operation between Hong Kong, Macau and the mainland.