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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 3, p. 917-925
    Received: Jan 31, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): Xiaxh@bnu.edu.cn
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Nitrogen Contamination in the Yellow River Basin of China

  1. Xinghui Xia *,
  2. Jingsong Zhou and
  3. Zhifeng Yang
  1. Institute of Environmental Sciences, Beijing Normal Univ./State Key Joint Lab. of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, 100875, Beijing, China


Nitrogen contamination is one of the most serious problems in the Yellow River of China. This study was conducted to analyze monitoring data on nitrogen contamination for the Yellow River basin in the years 1980, 1990, 1997, and 1999. Several significant results have arisen from the study. First, in conjunction with an increase in economic indexes from the Yellow River's upper basin to its lower basin, the nitrogen concentration in the tributaries also showed an increasing trend from the upper to the lower basin, which, in turn, led to an increase in the nitrogen concentration of the mainstream from the upper to the lower reaches. Second, nitrogen in the river water in the mainstream and the tributaries of the Yellow River was attributed mainly to point sources. In spite of the fact that the ratio of point to nonpoint sources decreased from 2.7 in 1990 to 1.8 in 1997 for total inorganic nitrogen in river water at the Tongguan Station in the lower basin, point sources increased more than nonpoint sources. Third, the ammonium nitrogen and total inorganic nitrogen content of the river water increased significantly in the mainstream and the tributaries during the 1980–1999 period, a change caused by an increase in wastewater discharge and nitrogenous fertilizer application in the Yellow River catchment.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:917–925.