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Acid rain affects one-third of China

Acid rain affects one-third of China

Acid rain affects one-third of China
August 28, 2006

One-third of China is impacted by acid rain according to officials quotes Sunday by state media.

The Associated Press reports that China’s factories are sending ever increasing amounts of sulphur dioxide — the chemical that causes acid rain — according to Sheng Huaren, deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of parliament. Emissions of sulphur dioxide have risen by 27 percent since 2000.

“Increased sulphur dioxide emissions meant that one-third of China’s territory was affected by acid rain, posing a major threat to soil and food safety,” said Sheng according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The Associated Press reported that local governments are hestitent to enforce environmental standards for fear of hurting business.

In July China announced it plans to spend $175 billion protecting its environment over the next five years. The money will be used to reduce pollution, improve water quality, and cut soil erosion.

China has some of the world’s most polluted cities and waterways. A December 2005 report from the Chinese government said some 300 million Chinese drink unsafe water tainted by chemicals and other contaminants, while a nationwide survey found that about 90% of China’s cities have polluted ground water. Meanwhile, a 2005 study by the World Health Organization (WHO), reported that seven of the world’s ten most polluted cities are in China and almost two thirds of the country’s largest cities fail to meet the organization’s air quality standards. Further, China is the planet’s largest emitter of sulfur dioxide and acid rain plagues about a quarter of the countryside. The World Bank estimates that pollution is costing the country 8-12% of its $1.4 trillion GDP in direct losses.

In recent years China taken a number of steps to reduce environmental degradation. The government has banned logging, spent $190 million on environmental protection along the new Golmud and Lhasa railway, initiated a reforestation project that would plant an area of forest the size of California, and invested billions in renewable energy technologies including wind, solar, and biofuels, setting a target of 12 percent of its power generation capacity coming from renewables by 2020 — up from a 3 percent in 2003. The government’s interest in reducing China’s use of petroleum products extends beyond environmental and health concerns; it sees both the strategic value of mitigating its reliance on foreign oil and the economic advantages of being on the technological leading edge of energy production.

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This article uses information from “One-third of China hurt by acid rain”, an AP article by JOE McDONALD, and previous articles.

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