UNEP and ten Asian countries to tackle acid rain using modelling techniques

Ten Asian countries are strengthening their efforts to save their forests and buildings from the growing rate of acid rain, with the permanent formation of the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET).

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), rapid economic growth and increasing energy demand in East Asia is causing serious environmental problems through acid rain. The UNEP’s Global Environmental Outlook 2000 report shows that sulphur dioxide emissions from coal burning in Asia could triple in the next 12 years if the current trends continue. Emission levels are already greater than those of America and Europe combined.

“It has been difficult to evaluate the state of acid deposition in East Asia utilising available data because monitoring methods and analytical techniques differ greatly among the region’s countries,” said UNEP Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer. “We should now be able to create a common understanding of the problem and help decision-makers at local, national and regional levels tackle the problem.”

According to Toepfer, the UNEP is also contributing to studies of the implication of alternative energy development on air pollution and acid rain. One such modelling technique, called Rains (Regional Air Pollution Information and Simulation), analyses future trends in emissions, estimating the regional impacts of acid deposition, and helping to evaluate the costs and effectiveness of various mitigation strategies.

“Obtaining good scientific information and extrapolating it into scenarios is a powerful tool to help decision makers plot a course towards sustainable development in Asia,” said Toepfer.

EANET membership currently comprises China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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