Following the strategic guidelines drawn in 1996 for the development of environmental chemistry in China, rapid developments has been made over the last few years in environmental analytical chemistry, pollution chemistry, pollutant control chemistry, pollution ecological chemistry and environmental theoretical chemistry, and the framework for multi-disciplinary research has been established. To keep the pace with the imminent demands for the sustainable economic development of China and the improvement of the living quality of the people as well as the development of environmental chemistry itself, NSFC Department of Chemical Sciences organized the “Strategic Forum for Environmental Chemistry in the 21st Century” on December 26-27, 2002 in Beijing Foreign Expert Plaza. This was the second strategic forum for environmental chemistry following the first one in 1994, and it attracted 50 experts, including 6 academicians, from 30 research institutes and universities all over the country. The multi-disciplinary nature of environmental chemistry was fully displayed in the forum. In addition to participants from environmental chemistry, 10 scientists from earth science, biology, ecology, medical science, agricultural science and physical chemistry were invited to give talks in the forum. Experts fully expressed their views from various angles on the strategies, opportunities and challenges faced by environmental chemistry in the new century. Academician Zhu Daoben, NSFC Vice-president, attended the forum.
The attending scientists discussed various scientific issues concerning all the branches of environmental chemistry and their development strategies, including atmospheric environmental chemistry, aquatic environmental chemistry, soil environmental chemistry, water-pollution-control chemistry, environmental medical science and indoor-environmental pollution, etc. Several important research topics were stressed, such as the environmental interface processes, the characterization, behavior and effects of complex mixed pollutants in the environment, the mathematical modeling for the enhanced transformation of the toxicity of pollutants in the ecosystem, the molecular environmental chemistry and the reaction mechanism of multi-pollutants in the environment. Water quality in the safe-supply of drinking water and new measures controlling the toxic organic pollutants were also elaborated. Moreover, experts discussed extensively the present situation, new growth points and prospects of all branches of environmental chemistry. The most emphasized issues were, however, focused on hazard evaluation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and the persistent toxic substances (PTS), the pollution ecological chemistry in soil-plant system, polluted soil remediation, and the development of molecular environmental chemistry.