Based on the increasing pressure on the water environment, this study aims to clarify the overall status of wastewater discharge in China, including the spatio-temporal distribution characteristics of wastewater discharge and its driving factors, so as to provide reference for developing “emission reduction” strategies in China and discuss regional sustainable development and resources environment policies. We utilized the Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA) method to analyze the characteristics of the spatio-temporal distribution of the total wastewater discharge among 31 provinces in China from 2002 to 2013. Then, we discussed about the driving factors, affected the wastewater discharge through the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) method and classified those driving factors. Results indicate that: (1) the total wastewater discharge steadily increased, based on the social economic development, with an average growth rate of 5.3% per year; the domestic wastewater discharge is the main source of total wastewater discharge, and the amount of domestic wastewater discharge is larger than the industrial wastewater discharge. There are many spatial differences of wastewater discharge among provinces via the ESDA method. For example, provinces with high wastewater discharge are mainly the developed coastal provinces such as Jiangsu Province and Guangdong Province. Provinces and their surrounding areas with low wastewater discharge are mainly the undeveloped ones in Northwest China; (2) The dominant factors affecting wastewater discharge are the economy and technological advance; The secondary one is the efficiency of resource utilization, which brings about the unstable effect; population plays a less important role in wastewater discharge. The dominant driving factors affecting wastewater discharge among 31 provinces are divided into three types, including two-factor dominant type, three-factor leading type and four-factor antagonistic type. In addition, the proposals aimed at reducing the wastewater discharge are provided on the basis of these three types.
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