Saturday, November 17, 2007

China sees reduction in coal emissions

Thu Nov 15, 12:05 AM ET

BEIJING - China said measures to improve the environment by cutting pollution at coal-fired power plants has started to show results, with emissions of a key air pollutant falling so far this year.


Emissions of sulfur dioxide, a main marker of air pollution, fell by 1.8 percent year-on-year in the first three quarters of 2007, State Environmental Protection Administration Director Zhou Shengxian said Thursday in a statement on the agency's Web site.

This compared to a 1.2 percent rise in 2006 from a year earlier. Zhou attributed the decrease to the installation of facilities that cut emissions of sulfur from coal-fired power plants.

"This shows measures to improve environmental quality have worked," Zhou was quoted as saying by the official China Daily newspaper.

China has some of the most polluted cities in the world and many of its rivers and lakes are full of toxic poisons after decades of breakneck economic growth.

The stunning economic growth means it accounted for 58 percent of carbon emissions worldwide in 2000-06, the International Energy Agency said in a report last week.

The environmental concerns extend to next summer's Beijing Olympics, with the International Olympic Committee and others voicing concern about the city's notoriously bad air pollution.

China aims to cut major pollutants by 10 percent between 2006 and 2010, but missed its target last year.

While China is against binding emissions caps, fearing they could harm economic growth, it is looking to technology — such as installations on power plants — to help cut emissions.

Zho said that a measure of water pollution, called chemical oxygen demand, or COD, also fell fractionally.

His report came a day after a commission on China's Yangtze River said the amount of sewage dumped into that waterway rose last year to a record 30.5 billion tons, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

That was an increase of 3.1 percent, or 900 million tons, from the year before, according to Hu Jiajun, a spokesman for the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission, Xinhua said.


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