Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Third of China ‘hit by acid rain’

BBC | Last Updated: Sunday, 27 August 2006, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK


Air pollution from a factory in north-eastern China

Local leaders are accused of putting economics before environment

One third of China is suffering from acid rain caused by rapid industrial growth, an official report quoted by the state media says. Pollution levels have risen and air quality has deteriorated, the report found. This comes despite a pledge by the authorities to clean up the air.

In the latest incident, a reservoir serving 100,000 people in north-west China was polluted by a chemical spill.

China has some of the world’s most polluted cities and rivers.

The pollution inspection report to the standing committee of parliament found that 25.5 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide were spewed out, mainly from the country’s coal-burning factories last year – up 27% from 2000.

Emissions of sulphur dioxide – the chemical that causes acid rain – were double the safe level, the report said. In some areas, rainfall was 100% acid rain, it added.

“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,” Sheng Huaren of the standing committee, was quoted by state media as saying.

Caustic soda

Local governments were accused of overlooking environmental regulations in the rush for economic development.

“It is especially worrying that most local governments base economic growth on energy consuming industries, disregarding the environment’s capacity to sustain industrial expansion,” Mr Sheng said.

His report echoes the findings from the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) released earlier this month.

In July, China announced it planned to spend 1.4 trillion yuan ($175bn) over the next five years on protecting its environment.

The sum – equivalent to 1.5% of China’s annual economic output – will be used to improve water quality, and cut air and land pollution and soil erosion.

Meanwhile, water supplies to the city of Hancheng in Shaanxi province were due to resume on Sunday, following an emergency when a nearby reservoir was polluted with 25 tonnes of caustic soda.

Officials brought in 10 tonnes of hydrochloric acid to neutralise the caustic soda, which was being carried by a tanker that fell into the Xuefeng reservoir on Friday, killing one person.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on 27 August, 2006 by in Arts, Asia, China, Development, Ecology, Middle East, UK.

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"