Rural pollution has attracted increasing attention over the past decade for its important consequences on surface and groundwater quality. This is particularly so in China due to the wide and effective control of industrial and municipal wastewater discharges over the past decade. Based on the discussion of rural activities in China, this paper develops a new method of inventory analysis through the definition of elementary unit (EU). This inventory analysis approach is then applied to estimate the total rural pollution loads of COD, TN and TP, as well as their spatial distributions in China. Further analysis is also conducted to investigate the correlations between rural pollution loads and agricultural production outputs, as well as population. It is found that China's agriculture is developing largely at the cost of environment quality, and a high population, as well as the increasing demand for agricultural products, is one of the dominant driving forces. The constructed EKC, which describes the relationship between rural pollution loads and agricultural income, also reveals that current agricultural development in China is mostly far from de-locked from the environmental problem.

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