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Loss accounting of environmental pollution within Pearl River Delta region, South China

Wang, Ming-Xu, Liang, Long-Ni, Siu, Weast Siu, Fan, Dan, Sun, Hao-Ran, Zhao, Hui-Hui, Zhou, Guang-Jie, Wu, Wen-Jun
Environmental pollution 2019 v.249 pp. 676-685
accounting, air, cities, economic development, ecosystems, environmental factors, environmental protection, land degradation, market value, pollution, river deltas, rivers, wastes, China
Economic development puts pressure on environment through air, water and land degradation, which in turn brings real costs to the economy. Actual economy growth should therefore consider the environmental degradation cost resulted from economic activities. Pearl River Delta (PRD) region as a typical delta area with rapid development in China, is with great significance to understand the loses resulted from environmental pollution.This study conducts an environmental economic accounting within the PRD region from 2011 to 2015 using the environmental degradation cost accounting approach. We identified and calculated the economic, agricultural, industrial and social losses resulting from air, water and waste pollution with different valuation methods, which includes shadow price, replacement costs, market value method, etc. The results showed the total environmental degradation cost ranged from 18.1 to 19.8 billion US$ and the environmental degradation index declined slightly over the years, with significant differences among cities.It implied that the environmental condition of PRD region has been continuously improved over the years, but the capacity of environment control between cities had large differences. Cities in PRD region should therefore take measures tailored to their current situation to optimize their resource endowment and industrial structure, to overcome the conflicts between economic development and environmental protection. For cities with relatively high degradation cost, it is urgent to accelerate the efforts in improving the quality of the environment and ecosystem. For cities with lower degradation cost, it is important to take actions to keep on a sustainable and ecological efficient developing path.The total environmental degradation cost of the PRD region is firstly calculated with insights on environmental management.