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BEIJING – Industries produce more than 65 percent of air pollutants and seriously impair people’shealth, says a report released on Thursday by a Beijing-based environmental group.
“Despite the fact that automotive emissions are the major cause of air contamination in urbanareas, industrial pollution is the most stubborn factor for bad air,” said Ma Jun, director of theInstitute of Public and Environmental Affairs.
The institute’s Report of Air Pollution Source Position comes as recent hazy and smoggy daysnationwide have aroused public anxiety over health concerns.
“The air quality will be considerably enhanced if the illegal industries are well governed,” Ma said.
Based on information from the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the institute analyzed datafrom the country’s biggest 4,400 emitters.
According to the report, 85.7 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions came from industries, while theycontributed 76.1 percent of nitric oxide emissions from 2006 to 2009.
More than half of the biggest emitters are located in the eastern coastal areas, while areas likeSichuan province in Southwest China, as well as the Ningxia Hui autonomous region and the InnerMongolia autonomous region in northern China have also witnessed increasing industrial pollution.
The Yangtze River Delta is also seeing increasing emissions of pollutants.
Electricity industries account for 1,178 of the more than 4,400 polluting emitters, said Ma.
“In addition, the industries of steel, cement, coking and chemistry are also at the wheel on smoggydays.”
Besides private enterprises, State-owned and foreign counterparts are among the emitters, saidMa.
He said most atmospheric pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxideand the volatile organic compounds, as well as almost all heavy metal particles and fluorides, arefrom the industries mentioned above.
“Residents near industrial areas are more likely to suffer from acute diseases,” said Ma.
According to a study conducted in Tianjin in 1995, people living near thermal power industries, ironand steel smelting industries, chemical industries and car manufacturers are 4.5 times more likelyto fall ill, including bronchitis, sore throats, colds, asthma and other allergies, said Ma.
He also called on the government to take more pollutants into consideration, rather than only sulfurdioxide and nitrogen oxides, while monitoring enterprises with heavy exhaust emissions.
“Other pollutants like particulate matters and volatile organic compounds are also very hazardous topeople’s health and should be listed in the standards,” said Ma.
Ma said the cost of environmental degradation by air pollution in 2004 was almost 220 billion yuan($34.3 billion), taking up 1.3 percent of the annual GDP, not accounting for the influence on dailylife as well as the damaged health of the public.
“It’s necessary that the information on pollution is accessible to the public – instead of for a smallgroup of experts for research and study – so they are better informed of the dangers they’reconfronted with due to the polluting factories nearby,” said Wang Weijia, former deputy director ofthe Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology.
“Only with the participation and supervision of the public can the polluting enterprises better abideby the laws and reduce pollutants,” he said.
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