China battles chronic air pollution


China will order industry to pay for the right to discharge noxious sulphur dioxide in a market-driven attempt to tackle its chronic air pollution problem, reported The Australian (4/8/2006, p.12).

10pc emissions reduction target: Under a plan to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 10 per cent, China, which leads the world in air pollution as well as driving economic growth, will also introduce emission trading deals.

400,000 deaths per year: The World Bank said 16 of the world’s most polluted cities were in China, and that 400,000 people a year died from related illnesses.

Sulphur dioxide up 27pc: Department of Pollution Control director-general Li Xinmin said on 3 August that sulphur dioxide emissions rose 27 per cent in the five years to the end of last year, during which the country’s coal consumption – the main culprit – grew by more than 800 million tonnes.

Restrictions already in place: He said restricting the sulphur dioxide rise to 27 per cent was an achievement, given soaring coalfired power generation. "That means it’s still under effective control," he said. "Without restrictive measures it would have been much worse.

22pc more cities brought up to standard: "Coal accounts for 70 per cent of China’s energy consumption. This fact is hard to change in the short term," Xinmin said. Half of the coal is used to generate power. But overall, he said, during 2000-05, 22 per cent more cities brought their air quality up to a required national standard, while the number with unacceptable air quality fell by 24 per cent.

Boilers to run on LPG: Last year, 357 out of 696 cities being monitored were found to have acid rain. He said that by 2008 all heavy industry, led by Capital Steel Company would be moved out of Beijing, and that the boilers in the heart of the city would be converted from coal to liquefied petroleum gas. Beijing Chemical Works has been closed down.

185 businesses shut down: In surrounding provinces, 185 businesses that failed to comply with environmental standards were shut down last year, he said. Partly as a result, Beijing had met its target of 63 per cent of the days in 2005 meeting national air quality standards.

The Australian, 4/8/2006, p. 12

Source: Erisk Net  

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