Xiamen Acid Rain

258 of China’s cities experience acid rains due to sulphur emissions.

Xiamen is located in the South-East part of Fujian province, which is often regarded as one of the best places to live in China. The city is experiencing continuous acid rain.

China has made some large attempts to reduce pollution levels, but these have clearly not had much of an effect on Fujian province yet.

“Official statistics show every drop of rain in Xiamen in the first half of 2010 was acidic, recording pH levels of less than 5.6 (neutral is 7),” – Zhuan Mazhan

Causes

The PRC is one of the most polluting countries in the world, along with the USofA, and air currents across the country push polluted air to the sea, and then south wards. Fujian province is at the Southern most point of the main curve of the PRC coastline, across the East China Sea from Taiwan, so it is at the point where the most polluted air converges.

Impacts

  • Acid rain is leaving buildings with yellow staining due to corrosion, particularly the colonnial age buildings which give Xiamen its unique appearance, which in turn helps to attract tourists to the island.
  • The island where Xiamen is located is being turned yellow as plants are being damaged.

Outside Xiamen, the Leshan Buddha statue of Sichuan province, has been hugely effected, and has been very badly damaged, losing its reddish colouring, due to factories built close by to it. The statue is the largest Buddha statue in the world, carved into the sacred Mount Emei, and has been there since at least 907 AD; it is a major tourist destination, particularly for Buddhist pilgrims, but is being damaged from all the acid rain and may not remain so. (This was initially confusing as almost every source mentions Leshan alongside Xiamen. I have tried to make it clear they are not the same place.)

Response

China is pursuing its promises made in 2009 to cut the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40-45% compared to 2005 levels. This has yet to be particularly effective; acid rain rates are still increasing down wind of industrial centers.

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