Chemical contamination of the East River (Dongjiang) and its implication on sustainable development in the Pearl River Delta

K. C. Ho, K. C.C. Hui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


A recent survey reveals that water quality and river sediments of Dongjiang (the East River) have been mildly contaminated by heavy metals and organic chemicals, such as copper, lead, PCBs, PAHs and HCHs. According to photogrammetic surveys, the sources of contamination are closely related to human activities, such as domestic and industrial discharges, agricultural chemical applications and soil erosion due to deforestation. The level of water and sediment contamination is most serious at the mid-river section near the urban of Weizhou. Due to natural dilution and diffusion, the levels of contamination are slightly decreased at the medium low section of the River near Qiaotou and Matan. Nevertheless, the levels of contamination increase again in the lower river section near Shenzhen, which is a highly developed economic zone. Since Dongjiang is the major source of potable water supply for Hong Kong (nearly 80% of potable water of Hong Kong is abstracted from Dongjiang) and the other parts of the Pearl River Delta (PRD), such organic and inorganic pollution merit concern. Ironically, most of the industrial and commercial activities in the watershed of Dongjiang are business investments of Hong Kong citizens. Cross-border environmental efforts should be enhanced with collaboration of different jurisdictions to achieve targets of regional sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-308
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironment International
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Point and nonpoint sources
  • Regional sustainability
  • Sediment contamination
  • Water quality
  • Water supply


Dive into the research topics of 'Chemical contamination of the East River (Dongjiang) and its implication on sustainable development in the Pearl River Delta'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this