A national assessment of the effect of intensive agro-land use practices on nonpoint source pollution using emission scenarios and geo-spatial data


China’s intensive agriculture has led to a broad range of adverse impacts upon ecosystems and thereby caused environmental quality degradation. One of the fundamental problems that face land managers when dealing with agricul- tural nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is to quantitatively as- sess the NPS pollution loads from different sources at a na- tional scale. In this study, export scenarios and geo-spatial data were used to calculate the agricultural NPS pollution loads of nutrient, pesticide, plastic film residue, and crop straw burning in China. The results provided the comprehensive and base- line knowledge of agricultural NPS pollution from China’s arable farming system in 2014. First, the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) emission loads to water environment were estimated to be 1.44 Tg N and 0.06 Tg P, respectively. East and south China showed the highest load intensities of nutri- ent release to aquatic system. Second, the amount of pesticide loss to water of seven pesticides that are widely used in China was estimated to be 30.04 tons (active ingredient (ai)). Acetochlor was the major source of pesticide loss to water, contributing 77.65% to the total loss. The environmental im- pacts of pesticide usage in east and south China were higher than other parts. Third, 19.75% of the plastic film application resided in arable soils. It contributed a lot to soil phthalateester (PAE) contamination. Fourth, 14.11% of straw produce were burnt in situ, most occurring in May to July (post-winter wheat harvest) in North China Plain and October to November (post-rice harvest days) in southeast China. All the above ag- ricultural NPS pollution loadings were unevenly distributed across China. The spatial correlations between pollution loads at land unit scale were also estimated. Rising labor cost in rural China might be a possible explanation for the general positive correlations of the NPS pollution loads. It also indi- cated a co-occurred higher NPS pollution loads and a higher human exposure risk in eastern regions. Results from this research might provide full-scale information on the status and spatial variation of various agricultural NPS pollution loads for policy makers to control the NPS pollution in China.


Zhuo, D. Liu, L. Yu, H. Yuan, C


Environ Sci Pollut Res Int , 2018


Nutrient erosion loss, Scenario, Land use, Nonpoint source pollution, Pesticide, Agricultural pl