Impacts of African swine fever on water quality in China

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Bai, Z., Jin, X., Oenema, O., Lee, M. R. F., Zhao, J. and Ma, L. 2021. Impacts of African swine fever on water quality in China. Environmental Research Letters. 16 (5), p. 054032.

AuthorsBai, Z., Jin, X., Oenema, O., Lee, M. R. F., Zhao, J. and Ma, L.

The outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in China has significantly reduced the country’s pig production capability, whilst also having far-reaching impacts on livestock products supply in the wider food system. Previous studies have quantified the potential long-terms impacts on food prices, however, little information is available regarding the direct short-term impacts on food system changes (livestock products supply and consumption patterns) and water quality protection associated with the outbreak. Here, we used multiple sources of data in relation to consumption patterns and water quality to fill this knowledge gap. Our results indicate that the ASF outbreak has changed the short-term livestock products consumption pattern in China, with increasing reliance on importation of livestock products. A rapid change in pork self-sufficiency rate has also driven a rapid increase in the consumer price index of many cities. Banned swill feeding and reversed environmental regulations in the watercourse intense regions has unintended consequences, especially on water quality. Swill, which is no longer fed, was dumped into water waste streams and
lowered the sewage treatment efficiency. The re-establishment of pig production back into watercourse intense regions has led to exceedance of local manure nutrient loading capacity of agricultural land. We suggest (a) a short-term intermediate policy to prohibit discharge of swill to
sewage systems, to return their previous efficiency, (b) the development of new technologies for the safe recycling of swills, and (c) the design of a long-term intelligent spatial planning of pig production, slaughter and transportation within China to ensure continued protection of water
quality vulnerable zones.

KeywordsConsumer price index; Import; Self-sufficiency rate; Sewage treatment plant; Kitchen waste; Manure loading capacity
Year of Publication2021
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Journal citation16 (5), p. 054032
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online29 Apr 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted02 Feb 2021
PublisherIOP Publishing Ltd

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