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One-Third of China Hurt by Acid Rain
BEIJING -- One-third of China's vast landmass is suffering from acid rain caused by its rapid industrial growth, while local leaders are failing to enforce environmental standards for fear of hurting business, said officials quoted Sunday by state media.
China's factories spewed out 25.5 million tons of sulphur dioxide -- the chemical that causes acid rain -- last year, up 27 percent from 2000, said Sheng Huaren, deputy chairman of the Standing Committee of parliament.
Chinese cities are among the world's smoggiest following two decades of breakneck economic growth. The government says all of China's major rivers are dangerously polluted. Millions of people lack access to clean drinking water.
On Sunday, local officials said a tanker carrying 25 tons of caustic soda had fallen Friday into the Xuefeng River in China's northwest, poisoning a drinking water source for 100,000 people.
One person was killed in the accident, Xinhua said. Officials said the water quality had returned to normal by Sunday after the government dumped 10 tons of hydrochloric acid into the water to neutralize the caustic soda, also known as sodium hydroxide