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Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9067-9087; doi:10.3390/su7079067

Spatiotemporal Analysis of Heavy Metal Water Pollution in Transitional China

1
Department of Geosciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
2
Department of Sociology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA
3
Department of Geography and Regional Planning, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15705, USA
4
Key Research Institute of Yellow River Civilization and Sustainable Development & Collaborative Innovation Center on Yellow River Civilization of Henan Province, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marc A. Rosen
Received: 9 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
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Abstract

China’s socioeconomic transitions have dramatically accelerated its economic growth in last three decades, but also companioned with continuous environmental degradation. This study will advance the knowledge of heavy metal water pollution in China from a spatial–temporal perspective. Specifically, this study addressed the following: (1) spatial patterns of heavy metal water pollution levels were analyzed using data of prefecture-level cities from 2004 to 2011; and (2) spatial statistical methods were used to examine the underlying socioeconomic and physical factors behind water pollution including socioeconomic transitions (industrialization, urbanization, globalization and economic development), and environmental characteristic (natural resources, hydrology and vegetation coverage). The results show that only Cr pollution levels increased over the years. The individual pollution levels of the other four heavy metals, As, Cd, Hg, and Pb, declined. High heavy metal water pollution levels are closely associated with both anthropogenic activities and physical environments, in particular abundant mineral resources and industrialization prosperity. On the other hand, economic development and urbanization play important roles in controlling water pollution problems. The analytical findings will provide valuable information for policy-makers to initiate and adjust protocols and strategies for protecting water sources and controlling water pollution; thus improving the quality of living environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: heavy metals; water pollution; Geographic information system (GIS); China heavy metals; water pollution; Geographic information system (GIS); China
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, H.; Li, Y.; Lee, M.-K.; Liu, Z.; Miao, C. Spatiotemporal Analysis of Heavy Metal Water Pollution in Transitional China. Sustainability 2015, 7, 9067-9087.

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