After being ragged on for its insufficient attention to power plant efficiency, its space pollution and its companies scamming carbon trading markets, here’s some good news about China and the environment. Acid rain: China is now monitoring it.
Air pollution has made its way into every nook and cranny of China, with even the most picturesque of locations such as Guilin and Hangzhou needing to deal with that thick grey-white haze. But smog is nothing compared to its more tangible form. Deteriorating old buildings, polluting water and damaging ecosystems: acid rain has drifted back on to the radar as China takes her first small steps to reducing its harmful effects by monitoring SO2 emissions – one of the two main contributors to acid rain.
Rewind back to 2006 when a number of reports came out raising concern for the third of China affected by acid rain, and pinpointing the country as a seed-bearer for the world’s most polluted cities and rivers. Like some sort of real-life Mordor, 25 million tones of sulfur dioxide was belched from the fires of coal fuelled power plants in 2006. This was despite Beijing’s promise to cut SO2 emissions by 10% way back in 2001. Unfortunately, emissions increased by 28% in those five years.
With all the studies and firm warnings, however, emissions managed to decease more than 13% between 2006 and 2009. And it’s getting better, according to Yale Environment 360:
To support its work curbing SO2 emissions, the Chinese government has received loans from the Asian Development Bank and technical assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has shared lessons from the U.S. experience in SO2 emissions control.
“Where they are today is where we were in late 1980s or early 1990s,” says Jeremy Schreifels, a policy analyst for the EPA and liaison to China on SO2.
With help from others and initiative to step up the pace, China will hopefully be able to prevent the complete annihilation of its ancient statues, its palaces and anything else it’s ever built.