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Guangzhou swamped by acid rain
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Eight out of every 10 rainfalls in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, last year was classified as acid rain.

The city suffered from the worst acid rain of any in the province, the Guangdong provincial environmental protection bureau said. Altogether, two-thirds of Guangdong's 21 cities were affected.

However, the figures still represented an improvement on 2006, Chen Guangrong, deputy director of the bureau, said on Tuesday.

About 45 percent of the province's rainfall last year could be classified as acid rain, compared with more than 50 percent the year before.

File photo: About 45 percent of Guangdong Province's rainfall last year could be classified as acid rain.

Other major air and water pollution indicators also dropped, but Chen warned the environmental situation remained "severe" and said the government will take "necessary measures" to cut pollution.

Sulfur dioxide emissions fell by 5 percent and chemical oxygen demand (COD), a key measurement of water pollution, dropped 3 percent year-on-year.

However, the COD still did not meet the provincial government's target, which Chen blamed on a lack of sewage treatment facilities.

Statistics showed that half of the wastewater in urban parts of Guangdong had been treated before being dumped into rivers, compared with the national average of 60 percent. And 36 counties in the province have no sewage treatment plants.

"We have required all counties without sewage treatment facilities to start construction by the end of this year and to make sure they are up and running by 2010, or it will be difficult for the province to meet the five-year COD reduction target," Chen said.

Guangdong's government has pledged to cut both sulfur dioxide emissions and COD by 15 percent by 2010.

To support the sewage treatment industry, the province plans to raise treatment fees from an average of 0.35 yuan per ton to no less than 0.8 yuan per ton in the Pearl River Delta, and no less than 0.5 yuan per ton in less developed areas by the end of the year.

Chen also called for more investment. Last year, the government spent about 400 million yuan on environmental protection, representing a tiny portion of public spending.

(China Daily March 28, 2008)


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