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Economic Estimation of the Losses Caused by Surface Water Pollution Accidents in China From the Perspective of Water Bodies' Functions.

Int J Environ Res Public Health; 13(2): 154, 2016 Jan 22.
Artigo em ENG | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26805869


The number of surface water pollution accidents (abbreviated as SWPAs) has increased substantially in China in recent years. Estimation of economic losses due to SWPAs has been one of the focuses in China and is mentioned many times in the Environmental Protection Law of China promulgated in 2014. From the perspective of water bodies' functions, pollution accident damages can be divided into eight types: damage to human health, water supply suspension, fishery, recreational functions, biological diversity, environmental property loss, the accident's origin and other indirect losses. In the valuation of damage to people's life, the procedure for compensation of traffic accidents in China was used. The functional replacement cost method was used in economic estimation of the losses due to water supply suspension and loss of water's recreational functions. Damage to biological diversity was estimated by recovery cost analysis and damage to environmental property losses were calculated using pollutant removal costs. As a case study, using the proposed calculation procedure the economic losses caused by the major Songhuajiang River pollution accident that happened in China in 2005 have been estimated at 2263 billion CNY. The estimated economic losses for real accidents can sometimes be influenced by social and political factors, such as data authenticity and accuracy. Besides, one or more aspects in the method might be overestimated, underrated or even ignored. The proposed procedure may be used by decision makers for the economic estimation of losses in SWPAs. Estimates of the economic losses of pollution accidents could help quantify potential costs associated with increased risk sources along lakes/rivers but more importantly, highlight the value of clean water to society as a whole.