The world's largest sitting Buddha, located in southwest China's
Province, is suffering visible erosion caused by acid rain
after receiving a facelift only four years ago, China
Daily reported on Tuesday.
Visitors to the 1,204 year-old Giant
Buddha in Leshan City found the UNESCO World Heritage-listed
statue to have "many black and gray stains on its face and body,"
according to the newspaper.
Acid rain affects 80 percent of the province's cities and
prefectures, and causes an annual average loss of 11.3 billion yuan
(US$1.4 billion), the newspaper said.
A recent survey by the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of
Mountain Hazards and Environment found that it caused average
annual losses worth 11.3 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) to Sichuan.
Of these, 6 billion yuan (US$726 million) were from damage to crops
-- critical to the agricultural province's economy.
With the implementation of the western development strategy in
the late 1990s, Sichuan has witnessed rapid economic development,
but some firms lacking environmental protection facilities have
broken the law and discharged waste water, gas and other
Provincial authorities say 73 sections of the rivers Tuojiang,
Minjiang, Jialing, Jinsha and Yangtze are monitored. Fifty-two
percent have poor water quality. The Tuojiang, a Yangtze tributary,
failed to reach the required standards in all monitored
Sichuan has closed and renovated more than 600 major
water-polluting firms in recent years, and no longer approves new
projects except for ones that treat pollution in areas with a very
poor environment. It has recommended such things as the banning of
coal as fuel, and a ban on noise.
But the province still has a long way to go in environmental
protection, said officials from the Sichuan Provincial
Environmental Protection Administration.
Less than 30 percent of waste water is treated in the province.
Of the 24 cities whose air quality is monitored, only five meet the
required standards. Fourteen cities, including Chengdu, the
provincial capital, have been included in the country's acid rain
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily April 19, 2005)