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Global Supply Chain Drivers of Agricultural Antibiotic Emissions in China

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journal contribution
posted on 20.04.2022, 14:07 by Xuechun Yang, Qiumeng Zhong, Sai Liang, Yumeng Li, Yafei Wang, Xiaobiao Zhu, Yu Liu
Antibiotic pollution causes serious environmental and social issues. China is the largest antibiotic producer and user in the world, with a large share of antibiotics used in agriculture. This study quantified agricultural antibiotic emissions of mainland China in 2014 as well as critical drivers in global supply chains. Results show that China’s agriculture discharged 4131 tons of antibiotics. Critical domestic supply chain drivers are mainly located in Central China, North China, and East China. Foreign final demand contributes 9% of agricultural antibiotic emissions in mainland China and leads to 5–40% of emissions in each province. Foreign primary inputs (e.g., labor and capital) contribute 5% of agricultural antibiotic emissions in mainland China and lead to 2–63% of emissions in each province. Critical international drivers include the final demand of the United States and Japan for foods and textile products, as well as the primary inputs of the oil seeds sector in Brazil. The results indicate the uniqueness of supply chain drivers for antibiotic emissions compared with other emissions. Our findings reveal supply chain hotspots for multiple-perspective policy decisions to control China’s agricultural antibiotic emissions as well as for international cooperation.

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