Archive for ‘Pollution’

18/12/2014

China Plans to Dethrone King Coal – Businessweek

China is, by far, the largest consumer of coal worldwide. In 2011, China accounted for nearly half the coal burned globally, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. China is also the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. That’s the bad news.

China's Coal Demand May Peak Before 2020

The good news is that China’s coal usage is “very likely to peak before 2020,” according to a report (PDF) published by the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). The author, Li Zhidong, a professor at Nagaoka University of Technology in Japan, examined data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics to find that the country’s appetite for coal is rising at a dramatically slower rate today than a few years ago. In 2011, China’s coal usage jumped 9 percent; last year, it rose only 2 percent.

Several factors are behind the trend. The first is simply that China’s manufacturing sector has slumped, meaning that factories required less additional electricity.

A more lasting factor, however, is that China’s push to expand renewable energy usage has made coal account for a declining share of power generation. In 2010, coal-fired power plants supplied 75.6 percent of China’s electricity; that dipped to 73.3 percent by 2013. Whether or not the economy picks up, the share of coal power is likely to continue to decline. In just the past three years, China has busily installed new dams, windmills, solar panels, and nuclear plants, adding 64 gigawatts of hydropower, 46 Gw of wind power, 15 Gw of solar power, and 4 Gw of nuclear power, according to NBR.

via China Plans to Dethrone King Coal – Businessweek.

08/12/2014

Rs 5,160cr given to states to clean rivers – The Times of India

Centre has released Rs 5,160 crore to various states for implementation of pollution abatement works in rivers, Parliament was informed on Monday.

Minister of water resources, river development and ganga rejuvenation Uma Bharti said in Rajya Sabha that Rs 5,159.81 crore has been released by the Centre to states for implementation of pollution abatement works and a sewage treatment capacity of about 5,005 million litres per day has been created so far under NRCP and NGRBA programmes.

National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) and National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) programme cover polluted stretches of 42 rivers spread over 21 states at a sanctioned cost of Rs 11,362.85 crore.

To another question, the minister said conservation of rivers is an ongoing process and cleaning of Ganga and other rivers is taking time mainly due to the “large gap between sewage generation and availability of sewage treatment capacity…”

She said it is the responsibility of the state governments and local bodies concerned to set up proper facility for collection and treatment of sewage generated and ensuring that it is not discharged into the rivers.

The new NDA-government has set up an Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission — ‘Namami Gange’ for for rejuvenation of Ganga and its tributaries.

via Rs 5,160cr given to states to clean rivers – The Times of India.

08/12/2014

Chinese tests find quarter of drinking water ‘substandard': Shanghai Daily | Reuters

Almost a quarter of purified drinking water tested by China’s top safety watchdog was substandard, with many products found to contain excessive levels of bacteria, the official Shanghai Daily newspaper said on Monday.

The findings underline the challenge to controlling supply chains in China, after a slew of food safety scares over the past year from donkey meat products contaminated with fox to heavy metals found in infant food.

The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) found excessive bacteria in purified water products from China’s biggest drinks maker, Wahaha Group, as well as C’estbon Beverage Co Ltd and Danone SA’s Robust brand, the newspaper said.

In a statement posted on the official Xinhua news agency, Wahaha said it had recalled the affected products and cut its supply relationship with the water station where it said the contamination had occurred.

via Chinese tests find quarter of drinking water ‘substandard': Shanghai Daily | Reuters.

07/12/2014

India Says Pollution Levels Need to Rise Further to Boost Growth – Businessweek

India said its pollution levels will need to increase in the years ahead to support its economic development and it won’t discuss limiting greenhouse-gas emissions at United Nations climate talks that began this week.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also said the government is preparing to make a pledge on how India will develop cleaner forms of energy, though he stopped short of indicating when the country might take on the sorts of caps for emissions that the U.S., China and Europe are adopting.

“We have a need to grow, so our emissions will grow,” Javadekar said at a press conference in New Delhi today. He said the onus on reducing emissions should be on richer industrial nations most responsible for global warming to allow poorer countries “space for more development.”

The comments indicate the difficulty in bringing all of the 190 nations gathered at the UN climate talks in Peru this week into a deal that will cut back on the pollution blamed for driving up the Earth’s temperature. While India’s emissions are the third-highest in the world, 30 percent of its residents live in poverty, scraping by on 75 cents a day or less.

Javadekar spoke before departing for the UN talks in Lima, Peru, which run through next week. They’re aiming to put together the building blocks for a deal by the end of next year that would cut pollution in all nations from 2020.

India is under pressure to make its environmental goals more clear after China and the U.S. jointly agreed Nov. 12 to rein in fossil fuel emissions. It was the first time a big developing country said it would take on a mandatory limit on pollution.

via India Says Pollution Levels Need to Rise Further to Boost Growth – Businessweek.

07/12/2014

China looking to curb fertilizer, pesticide use | Reuters

China, the world’s top producer of rice and wheat, is seeking to cap the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that have helped to contaminate large swathes of its arable land and threaten its ability to keep up with domestic food demand.

More than 19 percent of soil samples taken from Chinese farmland have been found to contain excessive levels of heavy metals or chemical waste. In central Hunan province, more than three quarters of the ricefields have been contaminated, government research has shown.

China is the world’s top consumer of pesticides but almost two thirds of pesticides are wasted, contaminating both land and water, an environment official said last year.

“We need to be determined to control the use of fertilizer and pesticides,” said chief economist at the agriculture ministry Bi Meijia.

Zhejiang province in eastern China plans to cut the use of nitrogen fertilizer by 8 percent in the next three years, Bi said, and the whole country could cap the growth in use of fertilizer and pesticides by 2020.

Still, China is aiming to remain self-sufficient in its staple crops, even as it moves to control pesticide and fertilizer use, Bi and another agricultural official said.

China recorded a bumper grains harvest in 2014, with output up about 1 percent to 607.1 million tonnes, official data showed, the 11th consecutive year of rising production.

via China looking to curb fertilizer, pesticide use | Reuters.

04/12/2014

End of the road for Delhi’s old cars as India battles smog | Reuters

The National Green Tribunal has banned all vehicles older than 15 years from the streets of the capital, New Delhi, in a bid to clean up air that one prominent study this year found to be the world’s dirtiest.

Heavy traffic moves along a busy road during a power-cut at the traffic light junctions in New Delhi July 31, 2012. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files

The ruling hits up to a third of the 8.4 million motorbikes, trucks, cars and auto-rickshaws that ply the traffic-choked roads of Delhi and its surrounding areas, transport officials estimate.

Cities across the world are ordering older vehicles off the road or restricting private car use to tackle growing air pollution. Mexico City introduced a ban on older vehicles driving on Saturdays this year, while in March, France briefly enforced the most drastic traffic curbs in 20 years.

“It is undisputed and in fact unquestionable that the air pollution of … Delhi is getting worse with each passing day,” the National Green Tribunal ruled in a judgment last week banning older vehicles from city streets.

Vehicular emissions are the cause of close to three-quarters of Delhi’s air pollution, the Delhi government estimates, and a World Health Organization study of 1,600 cities released in May found India’s capital had the world’s dirtiest air. India rejected the report.

The ban in Delhi lacks incentives to encourage drivers to trade in their older vehicles but eventually could boost sales for carmakers like Maruti Suzuki India and Tata Motors, as the capital accounts for 17 percent of India’s new car sales, said IHS automotive analyst Puneet Gupta.

via End of the road for Delhi’s old cars as India battles smog | Reuters.

27/11/2014

China takes ‘zero tolerance’ approach to regional polluters: Cabinet | Reuters

China will take a “zero tolerance” approach to a wide range of environmental violations and has promised stronger action against regional governments that protect polluters or hinder inspections, according to a Cabinet document.

A man wearing a face mask stands on a bridge in front of the financial district of Pudong on a hazy day, in Shanghai November 17, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

Authorities across China have been ordered to take part in a comprehensive inspection program to be completed by the end of 2015, said the policy document that was released on the official government website late on Wednesday.

The program’s findings will be released publicly under a policy of enhanced transparency and accountability, it said, and any regional regulations that hinder enforcement of national environmental legislation must be annulled by June 2015.

The state of China’s air, soil and rivers has emerged as one of the ruling Communist Party’s biggest challenges, with an increasingly prosperous public unwilling to accept the environmental costs of rapid economic growth.

China declared a “war on pollution” this year and passed long-awaited amendments to its 1989 Environmental Protection Law, giving authorities added powers to monitor, fine and even imprison repeat offenders.

On Wednesday, the cabinet also approved draft amendments to China’s air pollution law that include unlimited daily fines if violators do not rectify problems, the China Daily newspaper reported. Polluters currently pay a one-off fine of up to 200,000 yuan ($32,595).

Enforcement remains one of the government’s main concerns, with the Ministry of Environmental Protection complaining last month that some regions preferred “form over substance” when it came to implementing new guidelines.

The ministry also criticized regional governments that failed to comply fully with industrial restrictions during this month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.

(1 US dollar = 6.1360 Chinese yuan)

via China takes ‘zero tolerance’ approach to regional polluters: Cabinet | Reuters.

21/11/2014

China Plans to Move Factories Abroad to Cut Smog – Businessweek

Even as northern China, including Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei province, continues to suffer from hazardous air—“people with respiratory issues are advised to stay indoors or wear protective masks,” the official English language China Daily advised earlier today, Nov.20—some relief may be on the longer-term horizon.

The Baosteel Group Corp. facilities in Shanghai, China

Chinese authorities in Hebei province, one of China’s largest steel-producing regions, announced they plan to relocate steel, cement, and glass factories overseas over the next decade. The many industrial factories that surround Beijing and Tianjin are known to be a major source of the lung-choking smog that periodically smothers much of northern China. Hebei province alone produces 200 million tons of steel annually, or about one-quarter of China’s total production.

“The initiative comes at a time when local steel, cement, and glass producers are struggling, with sluggish growth in the world’s second-largest economy crippling demand for their products. In many cases, it has led to severe overcapacity,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported Nov. 19.

By 2017, according to Hebei authorities, Hebei plans to move 5 million tons of steel production capacity, the same amount for cement, and 3 million “weight boxes” of glass production (a weight box is roughly 50 kg, the paper explained). Much more will be moved in the following six years, through 2023, including 20 million tons of steel, 30 million of cement, and 10 million weight boxes of glass production, Xinhua reported.

While steel manufacturers will be encouraged through unspecified preferential policies to relocate some production in Africa and Asia, cement and glass producers will go to those two regions, as well as South America and Central and East Europe.

“Hebei is a major source of industrial pollutants blamed for the notorious choking smog that often spreads to neighboring regions like Beijing,” Xinhua reported.

via China Plans to Move Factories Abroad to Cut Smog – Businessweek.

13/11/2014

China, U.S. agree limits on emissions, but experts see little new | Reuters

China and the United States agreed on Wednesday to new limits on carbon emissions starting in 2025, but the pledge by the world’s two biggest polluters appears to be more politically significant than substantive.

U.S. (L) and Chinese national flags flutter on a light post at the Tiananmen Square ahead of a welcoming ceremony for U.S. President Barack Obama, in Beijing, November 12, 2014. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

As China’s President Xi Jinping agreed to a date for peak CO2 emissions for the first time and also promised to raise the share of zero-carbon energy to 20 percent of the country’s total, President Barack Obama said the United States would cut its own emissions by more than a quarter by 2025.

via China, U.S. agree limits on emissions, but experts see little new | Reuters.

11/11/2014

For APEC, Beijing Briefly Cleans Up Its Skies, but Can’t Help the Sewage – Businessweek

Beijing has, once again, cleaned up the air to impress the foreign dignitaries visiting for this week’s APEC summit. The phenomenon is so predictable that there’s even a new phrase on Chinese social media, “APEC blue,” used to refer to something that is beautiful or enticing, but also fleeting. As in, “He’s not that into you, it’s just APEC blue.”

A riverbank in Beijing

Yet while China’s government can order factories in and near Beijing to shut down for about a week to clear the skies, it can’t as quickly clean up the capital’s dirty urban waterways. A new investigation by the newspaper Economic Information highlights one nasty but lingering problem in Beijing and other large Chinese cities: lack of adequate sewage treatment facilities.

Xiong Jianxin, an official in Beijing’s municipal water bureau, told the newspaper that some sewage plants on the outskirts of the capital are easily overwhelmed. While plants are built to handle up to 550,000 tons of water daily, at peak times they send as many as 100,000 tons of unprocessed sewage daily back into rivers or channels. Officials in several other large cities shared similar horror stories.

via For APEC, Beijing Briefly Cleans Up Its Skies, but Can’t Help the Sewage – Businessweek.

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