Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, 15:273

Diffusion pollution from livestock and poultry rearing in the Yangtze Delta, China

Research Article Subject Area 7.2 · Impacts of Chemicals / Fate in Biota

DOI: 10.1065/espr2007.07.438

Cite this article as:
Gu, P., Shen, R.F. & Chen, Y.D. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2008) 15: 273. doi:10.1065/espr2007.07.438



The Yangtze Delta is one of the most developed regions in China and includes Shanghai, eight cities in Jiangsu province and eight cities in Zhejiang province. Meat consumption in this region has increased with economic growth, and most of the consumed meat is produced locally. The water quality of surface waters has deteriorated in recent years. An example was the huge blue-green algae bloom in Tai Lake in late May 2007, which affected millions of people’s daily drinking water. However, animal husbandry is considered to be one of the main pollution sources.


Pollutants (NH3-N, total phosphorus (TP), and total nitrogen (TN)) excreted by livestock and poultry, and the resultant COD (chemical oxygen demand) and BOD (biochemical oxygen demand), were estimated using two different methods based on different data sets.


The number of livestock and poultry has remained stable in the Yangtze Delta over the four years from 1999 to 2002, with the average number of pigs, cattle, sheep and poultry being 21.1 M, 0.4 M, 7.7 M and 597.6 M, respectively. Pollutants in livestock and poultry excreta estimated by Method I were: 0.12 Mt NHin-N, 0.11 Mt TP and 0.29 Mt TN, resulting in COD and BOD of 1.34 Mt and 1.30 Mt, respectively, while the estimations based on Method II were: 0.18 Mt NH3-N, 0.15 Mt TP and 0.40 Mt TN, resulting in COD and BOD of 1.95 Mt and 1.80 Mt, respectively.


Pollutants excreted annually by livestock and poultry in the Yangtze Delta are estimated to be: 0.17 Mt NH3-N, 0.16 Mt TP and 0.42 Mt TN, giving rise to a COD of 1.86 Mt and a BOD of 1.72 Mt. Approximately 25% of this pollution was estimated to enter water bodies, which means that the annual pollutant load is 43,700 t NH3-N, 39,400 t TP, 104,600 t TN with a COD of 465,000 t and a BOD of 430,100 t. Pollutants from animal husbandry were similar in magnitude to those from industrial wastewater. Pigs produced the most pollution, followed by poultry, cattle and sheep. The pollution load from animal husbandry in the Yangtze Delta is about twice the average level of the whole of China.


Domestic wastewater was the main pollution source in the Yangtze Delta, followed by pollution from raising livestock and poultry and from industrial wastewater. The pollution load in Shanghai and Jiaxing were the greatest, followed by 7 cities of Jiangsu province (except Suzhou) and other cities of Zhejiang province and Suzhou. Pigs and poultry produced about 90% of the total pollutants from animal husbandry.

Recommendations and Perspectives

The local governments, especially in Shanghai and Jiaxing, should focus their attention on the pollution produced by livestock and poultry. Controlling pollution from pigs and poultry will have the greatest impact in this region. Control of pollution will be facilitated by the development of large-scale livestock and poultry farming units and a shift away from small scale husbandry.


Animal husbandrybiochemical oxygen demand (BOD)chemical oxygen demand (COD)eutrophicationNH3-Nnon-point source pollutionTai Laketotal nitrogen (TN)total phosphorus (TP)water quality

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Soil and Fertilizer Station of Zhejiang ProvinceHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina