PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2015, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (6): 749-760.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2015.06.010

• Ecology and Environment • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatiotemporal variability of sudden environmental pollution incidents and influencing factors in China, 1995-2012

Lei DING1, Yalin HUANG2, Yunlang LIU1, Chao LIU2, Shenggao CHENG1,*   

  1. 1. School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
    2. School of Public Administration, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • Received:2014-07-01 Revised:2015-01-01 Online:2015-06-15 Published:2015-06-15
  • Contact: Shenggao CHENG


Understanding the complexity of spatiotemporal variations of sudden environmental pollution incidents and quantifying the contribution of their driving factors are important for effective environmental management in China. In this study, we analyzed the spatiotemporal patterns of sudden environmental pollution incidents and influencing factors in China for the period of 1995-2012 based on the Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA) and Spatial Econometric Panel Model. The results indicate that: the frequency of environmental pollution incidents was gradually declining after the initial fluctuating growth and the high-frequency areas were mainly concentrated in eastern and southwestern China; ESDA analysis revealed that China's environmental pollution incidents were random distributed from 1995 to 2000 and agglomerated after 2001; in recent years the high-frequency area focused on the Pan-Yangtze River Delta region; the high-frequency center moved rapidly in 1998-2001 and 2004-2007 as a consequence of the regional industrial transfer and high pollution discharge pressure, toward southwest and northeast. Environmental pollution incident was different from pollutant emissions and is not an inevitable outcome of economic development. It is mainly related to the level of pollution control, government environmental supervision ability, spatial effect, and other factors. As one of the most important factors influencing environmental pollution incidents, spatial effect mainly included the spatial proximity effect and spillover effect. In order to control environmental pollution incidents effectively, the government should formulate joint transboundary pollution incidents emergency response mechanisms within regions based on regional pollution diffusion and transfer.

Key words: sudden environmental pollution incidents, ESDA, temporal and spatial evolution characteristics, spatial effect, China