China's acid rain pollution worsened in 2003, according to a statement released in Beijing Thursday by the environment watchdog.
According to the annual "Statement on the Environment" issued by the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), acid rain occurred in 54.4 percent of the total 487 cities monitored. The percentage of cities with no acid rain occurrence decreased while that of cities with acid rain frequency is higher than 40 percent, increasing 7.2 percent over 2002.
Zhu Guangyao, vice director of SEPA, said at a press conference in Beijing Thursday that the statistics indicated that acid rain pollution worsened in 2003.
The statement also said the pollution scope within the acid rain control zones remained stable, but pollution in already seriously polluted areas has worsened.
Statistics showed acid rain occurred in 89.6 percent of the 106 cities in the acid rain control zones in 2003. Compared to 2002, the percentage of cities with low acid rain frequency (between 20 to 40 percent) decreased by 11.9 percent while that of cities with high frequency (higher than 40 percent) increased by 6.9 percent.
Acid rain is the outcome of sulfur dioxide, a chemical usually produced by burning coals. It erodes soil and rusts building materials, and thus damages the ecosystem and human life.
According to SEPA, 30 percent of China's territory suffered from acid rain, which cost at least 110 billion yuan (US$013.3 billion) annually.
(Xinhua News Agency March 25, 2004)