Improving China's acid rain control strategy

Oct 14, 2009
A new study urges China to take steps to reduce nitrogen emissions, which contribute to acid rain that can damage soil and plants like these trees. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Scientists are reporting the first evidence that China's sharp focus on reducing widespread damage to soil by acid rain by restricting sulfur dioxide air pollution may have an unexpected consequence: Gains from that pollution control program will be largely offset by increases in nitrogen emissions, which the country's current policy largely overlooks. The study, which suggests that government officials adapt a more comprehensive pollution control strategy that includes a new emphasis on cutting nitrogen emissions, is scheduled for the Nov. 1 issue of ACS' Environmental Science & Technology.

Lei Duan and colleagues explain that China is trying to stop soil acidification by reducing from electric power plant smokestacks. Those emissions cause , which in turn has made vast areas of farmland more acid and less productive. China's is striving for a 10 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions by 2010, a policy that seems have had only a limited impact so far, the researchers say. However, China has paid little attention to pollution from nitrogen oxides, which also contribute to acid rain and soil contamination.

The scientists' analysis found that the benefits of sulfur dioxide reductions will almost be offset by increased nitrogen emissions. To control this problem, "China needs a multipollutant control strategy that integrates measures to reduce sulfur, nitrogen, and particulate matter," the article notes.

More information: "Soil Acidification in : Is Controlling SO2 Emissions Enough?", Environmental Science & Technology

Source: American Chemical Society (news : web)

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

EPA: Acid rain program is effective

Oct 27, 2005

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says its 10-year-old acid rain program has significantly reduced acid deposition in the United States.

Drop in acid rain altering Appalachian stream water

Dec 12, 2006

Appalachian hardwood forests may be getting a respite from acid rain but data from a long-term ecological study of stream chemistry suggests that the drop in acid rain may be changing biological activity in the ecosystem ...

EPA acts on clean air interstate rule

Mar 16, 2006

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it's taken several actions to assure "timely and efficient implementation" of the Clean Air Interstate Rule.

Alabama power company to reduce polluting

Apr 25, 2006

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the Alabama Power Co. has been ordered to reduce emissions of two harmful pollutants by 28,000 tons per year.

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.