South China's Guangdong Province has put an end to ten years of rising emissions of sulfur dioxide as a result of pollution control measures in the power-generating sector.
The emission of sulfur dioxide, a key component of acid rain, dropped to 1.26 million tons in 2006 from 1.29 tons in 2005, the Provincial Environmental Protection Department said. Emissions had been rising since 1996, it added.
Power stations produce half the sulfur dioxide in the province and are regularly blamed for the worsening environment in the Pearl River Delta manufacturing region and Hong Kong, said the department.
To tackle the rising pollution the Guangdong government has been closing down small, coal-fired power plants and installing devices to remove sulfur from flue gas at existing power plants.
Desulfurization efforts since 2002 at Shajiao coal-fired power plant, the largest of its kind in China, reduced emissions to 11,460 tons in 2006. This is 90 percent down on previous years.
The province plans to reduce emissions by a further 300,000 tons in 2007. The governments of Guangdong and Hong Kong are targeting 40 percent emission reductions by 2010.
The Chinese government has pledged to reduce levels of sulfur dioxide by 10 percent nationwide by 2010. Some cities have agreed to reduce levels by as much as 60 percent.
(Xinhua News Agency January 9, 2007)