JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2019, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (7): 1483-1495.doi: 10.31497/zrzyxb.20190711

• Resource Economics • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Impact of economic agglomeration on regional water pollutant emissions and its spillover effects

ZHOU Kan1,2, WANG Qiang3, FAN Jie1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    3. School of Geographical Sciences, Fujian Normal University, Fuzhou 350007, China
  • Received:2018-11-10 Online:2019-07-28 Published:2019-07-28

Abstract: Based on the database of COD and NH3-N emissions from 339 cities at prefecture level in China, this paper explores the impact of economic agglomeration on regional water pollutant emissions and the differences in the impact levels between different city-size by using the econometric model. Meanwhile, a bivariate spatial autocorrelation method is adopted to analyze the spillover effect of economic agglomeration on water pollutant emissions, which provides a reference for making a benign interactive countermeasure to promote economic agglomeration and pollution mitigation. The results show that: according to the whole sample, economic agglomeration can effectively reduce the intensity of the regional water pollutant emissions. The degree of economic agglomeration increases by 1%, and the COD and NH3-N emissions will decrease by 0.491% and 0.166% respectively. Compared with the large cities and mega-cities, economic agglomerations have more prominent reduction effects on water pollutant in small and medium-sized cities. Economic agglomeration and water pollutant discharge have shown significant spatial spillover effects, and present spatial agglomeration patterns of high agglomeration-high emission, low agglomeration-low emission, and low agglomeration-high emission. High agglomeration-high emission areas are located from Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region to the Shandong Peninsula, as well as other highly urbanized area such as Harbin-Changchun, the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and Changsha-Zhuzhou-Xiangtan. Policy implications and suggestions include: actively nurturing small and medium-sized cities, exerting significant reduction effects of economic agglomeration, promoting technological upgrade and diffusion of production technologies, improving energy efficiency and environmental protection input; rationally controlling the economic and population size of large cities and mega-cities, improving environmental regulations to prevent "Pollution Haven" effects, and accelerating industrial restructuring and outdated production capacity to eliminate and strictly control over-standard and over-total emissions; reducing the negative externalities of economic agglomeration, with a focus on promoting joint prevention and basin governance of high agglomeration-high emission area.

Key words: city-size, pollution reduction effect, spillover effect, water pollutant emissions, economic agglomeration