Journal of environmental sciences | 2019
Three decades of changes in water environment of a large freshwater Lake and its relationship with socio-economic indicators.
Tai Lake (Ch: Taihu) has attracted international attention forcyanobacteria blooms. However, the drivers of cultural eutrophication, especially long-term socio-economic indicators have been little researched. The results of research demonstrate how socio-economic development affected quality of water and how it has been improved by anthropogenic activities. This study described variability in indicators of water quality in Tai Lakeand investigated thedrivers. Significant relationships existed between concentrations of annual mean total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorous (TP), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biological oxygen demand (BOD), and population, per capital gross domestic production (GDP) and sewage discharge (p\u202f<\u202f0.05). However, mechanisms causing change varied among TN, TP, COD and BOD. Before 2000, the main contributors to increases in concentrations of TN were human population, GDP and volumes of domestic sewage discharges. After 2000, discharges of industrial sewage become the primary contributor. After 1998, the regressions of annual mean TN, TP and COD on per capital GDP, population and domestic sewage discharge were reversed compared to the former period. Since 1999, an apparent inverted U-shaped relationship between environmental pollution and economic development has developed, which indicated that actions taken by governments have markedly improved quality of water in Tai Lake. The statistical relationship between BOD and per capital GDP didn t conform to the Kuznet curve. The U-shaped Kuznet curve may offer hope for the future that with significant environmental investments a high GDP can be reached and maintained without degradation of the environment, especially through appropriate management of industrial sewage discharge.