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China Suffers Severe Acid Rain Contamination
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China experienced its most serious acid rain contamination of the year in August, with Beijing among the worst-hit areas, the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) said here in Beijing Friday.

The CMA's statistics show that 19 of the 155 acid rain monitoring stations located across the country recorded acid rain on every rainy day last month, and 51 on half of the rainy days. In Beijing, 80 percent of rainy days were acid rain days.

The regions most affected regions by acid rain run from the northeast of China to the southwest. Provinces and municipalities in the list include Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Guizhou, Sichuan, Hebei, Shanxi, Tianjin and Beijing, according to the CMA.

With rainfall becoming scarcer from September onwards, there is little chance of acid rain in Beijing in the fall and winter, said meteorologists.

But coal-burning and other pollution-generating heating methods in the chilly winter will lead to increased emissions of sulfur dioxide which may cause acid mist, meteorologists predicted.

Acid rain erodes metal, stone, cement and wood, threatening power lines, railway track, houses and bridges, said experts, adding that ancient buildings will also be major victims.

Soils and water that soak up acid rain transfer the pollution to crops and eventually into people's corneas and respiratory tubes.

China is the world's biggest sulfur dioxide polluter, with 25.49 million tons of sulfur dioxide discharged in 2005. The amount is up an alarming 27 percent on the 2000 figure.

Smoke and industrial dust emissions also increased in 2005, despite the government's vow to reduce the emissions by 9 percent annually.

(Xinhua News Agency September 23, 2006)

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