Sustainable pork farming in China
Prof. h.c. Dipl.-Ing. Erhard Hoffmann
Dipl.-Geol. Miriam Leicht
The contamination of heavy metals in water supplies is steadily increasing and is a major risk for the environment due to its toxic behavior. With the economic and social development in China, the per capita demand for meat increased from 17.7 kg in 1980 to 53 kg in 2008, while pork meat makes up 61%. Thus, a number of large-scale pork farms were built, and by today, China is the largest pork producer in the world, accounting for nearly 42% of all global pork production. The negative aspect of this booming market is, that pork farms are about to become the new polluters, as most operators fail to clean up animal feces. Due to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, more than 4 billion tons of feces were produced by pork farms across China in 2007, which is 4.1 times the amount of industrial waste. The composition of pork waste has changed much due to the use of feed additives and medicines such as antibiotics, estrogens and heavy metals. As pork farms are often settled close to cities, the feces are causing pollution of ground and surface water as most of them are directly discharged without treatment and also affect close by farmland, which is often overloaded with nutrients.