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China’s Air Pollution Worsens as Economy Rebounds From Crisis

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- China’s air quality deteriorated for the first time in five years in January-to-June of 2010 as economic growth accelerated to 11.1 percent.

Pollution of coastal waters also worsened from a year earlier, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on its website yesterday. Acid rain was detected in 189 of 443 cities monitored, a level similar to last year, it said.

China estimates its carbon-dioxide emissions will continue to rise in the next two decades, peaking in 2030, as it burns more coal and oil to power the world’s fastest-growing major economy. A 4 trillion yuan ($590 billion) stimulus package has helped fuel double-digit economic expansion in the past three quarters after the global financial crisis dragged growth to the slowest in almost a decade in the first quarter of 2009.

In the first half, air quality was “fair” or better on 91 percent of days in 113 Chinese cities that were monitored, the ministry said. That was 0.3 percentage points lower than a year earlier, the first decline since 2005, according to the report. The amount of inhalable particles was 0.091 milligrams per cubic meter in the cities, rising by 0.002 milligrams from a year earlier, according to the report.

In Shanghai, 94.5 percent of days were “fair” or better, an increase of 2.2 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the ministry. In the southern city of Guangzhou, the level was was 95.6 percent, an increase of 1.1 percentage points, according to the report.

The ministry also found that 26.4 percent of China’s surface water was not fit for drinking due to pollution. That’s an increase from the 24.2 percent of water classified in the first half of 2009 as being fit only for industrial use and farm irrigation, according to the ministry.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Liu at jliu42@bloomberg.net

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