Parts of the South China Sea are increasingly polluted, the Chinese authorities said in an annual communiqué, with many coastal ecosystems now in an unhealthy condition.
About 7,940 square kilometers of the South China Sea, which covers more than 3.5 million square kilometers in total, were found to be heavily polluted by the South China Sea Branch of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) during summer last year, an increase on the year before, the Legal Daily reported Wednesday.
While the food chain was in a stable condition overall in 2016, half of the major coastal ecosystems monitored were in poor health and the density of marine organisms was below standard, according to the communiqué.
In some areas, the excess release of nutrients into the water had caused the rapid and even explosive growth of plants and algae, the communiqué said.
But human activities including bridge construction and drilling for oil did not have obvious negative impact on the coastal parts of the South China Sea over the past year, the administration claimed.
The communiqué was based on data collected from 4,539 monitoring stations in the South China Sea in 2016, the Legal Daily reported.
The SOA and local environmental departments in South China's Guangdong and Hainan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region enhanced their environmental protection and monitoring in South China Sea in 2016 in order to implement the country's maritime power strategy as well as promote marine ecology protection.
Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the maritime power strategy in 2013, calling for more efforts in maritime development management.
On the same day the Legal Daily report was published, the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology launched a project to compile historical data obtained during expeditions to the region since the late 1950s, promoting insight into the environment and resources on the sea, its islands and its reefs.