Over 1,100 livestock farms that failed to meet hygiene standards will be shut down by March next year as Shanghai intensifies its fight against environment pollution.
The city has already shut down 1,600 livestock farms this year that did not meet the animal epidemic prevention and waste discharge standards.
Most of them were found dumping the discharge improperly that contaminated water and soil.
The Shanghai Water Affairs Bureau said improper waste discharge by farms was the main cause of water pollution in suburban areas.
The decomposing animal wastes release excess nitrogen and phosphorus, and decreases the oxygen content in the water. Wastes left unattended for too long discharge noxious gas like ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and methane.
However, due to the farms' locations in the suburbs and the limited capability of Shanghai's sewage system, the discharges could not use the city's sewage and waste management network.
A program was initiated by the city government in 2013 that gave subsidies to over 70 farms to build waste handling facilities. The processed wastes are then directed into the city's sewage network.
However, according to a report by the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, due to high operative costs only half of the facilities had been used.
It costs a farm with 5,000 pigs over 400,000 yuan (US$62,920) a year to operate the waste disposal facilities.
The bureau said combining stock breeding and crop farming that allows farms to recycle and make use of the livestock wastes, remain the best choice for the farms in Shanghai.
Authorities have also been encouraging the farms to invest in methane projects to recycle the wastes.
Shanghai Development and Reform Commission has subsidized nine farms of about 8.25 million yuan over the past two years to build methane projects. Wastes are used for generating methane that helps to cut operative costs while decreasing waste discharge.
The Shanghai Agriculture Committee said it plans to cut the number of livestock in the city. The number of pigs raised in the city will be slashed from the current 3 million to around 2 million by 2020, and cows from 70,000 to 55,000. The number of chickens will be down by at least 10 million.
"We support the measures in the fight against pollution, but the government should also consider about the well being of the farmers after shutting down the farms," said law advisor Zhao Guixiang, who owns a farm himself in Fengxian District. "The city government should have a unified compensation policy for the livestock farmers, some of whom have been in the business for over 30 years and are not capable of doing any other jobs," he said.