Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics

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Water pollution of the Yangtze River basin is very serious. Studies have shown that from the upper to the lower river, the water volume decreases and development and pollution increase, especially in trans-boundary areas. The Yangtze Estuary is located at the intersection of Jiangsu Province and Shanghai where the waters flow directly into the East China Sea. The estuary provides drinking water to many people and serves multiple other functions, including agricultural irrigation, tourism, and aquaculture. It plays a pivotal role in the local social and economic development and in people’s general wellbeing. Directly or indirectly, the pollution of the aquatic environment in the estuary negatively affects the socio-economic function of the estuary and neighboring areas.

To help policymakers and stakeholders better appreciate the costs of rapid economic development, we examine Chongming County of Shanghai by using James’ concentration-loss model and assessing the economic loss in Chongming County from 2005 to 2013 caused by water pollution in the Yangtze Estuary. The most affected function is tourism, while the most harmful pollutant is COD. According to the estimated loss rate, the county has lost almost all of its tourism and potable water function. The inhabitation function also shows severe deterioration.

We conclude that the economic development of the upper river has caused serious economic loss for Chongming County and make five suggestions to remedy this situation. First, the government should streamline management of the estuary environment. Second, to reduce pollution of the river aquatic environment, the government should establish trans-boundary compensation mechanisms. Third, researchers should focus on relevant theories and methodologies of assessing economic loss from water pollution. Fourth, universities should modify their curricula to include more subjects on the environmental research and management so as to train and cultivate high-level professionals. Lastly, administrative departments should work closely with research departments, thus enabling scientific research to affect planning and implementation.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.