As complete monitoring data becomes available, the agriculture sector is likely to emerge as the largest source of pollution by industry, according to new research by Research Centre for Rural Economy (RCRE), a research centre affiliated with Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). Nonpoint source (NPS) agricultural runoff was the focus of the study, conducted by RCRE researcher Jin Shuqin 金书秦 and reported at a conference on 28 February 2017.

NPS agricultural pollution has been included in national pollution statistics since 2007, according to Caixin coverage, but has been repeatedly undercounted, argues Jin. 2015 statistics for ammonia pollution, for example, take into account agrochemical runoff, livestock waste, and emissions from aquaculture operations, but fail to account for decomposing crop residue or post-harvest waste. Jin believes that as data on rural pollution improves, agriculture will likely account for more pollution than urban residents or industrial sources.

Jin proposes the following pollution control measures, many of which are already underway

  • management of irrigation water to prevent runoff
  • management of livestock and crop waste for use as fertiliser
  • zero growth of chemical pesticide and fertiliser use
  • complete recovery of agricultural plastic film

He further notes that zero growth of chemical pesticide and fertiliser use should be evaluated by pollution as well as by market sales.