China Alerted to Serious Soil Pollution
   2014-04-18 07:27:02      Web Editor: Sun Wanming

A recent report has found that some 16 percent of the soil on the Chinese mainland is polluted.

Alarmingly, the number for farmland is around 19 percent.

CRI's Alexander Aucott has the details


The report is issued jointly by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land and Resources

It is based on a 9-year survey starting since 2005, on about two thirds of the land across the Chinese mainland.

Gao Shengda is secretary of the Industry Alliance for Environmental Rehabilitation.

He says the main pollution source is human industrial and agricultural activities.

"The rapid economic growth of China over the past few decades has taken its toll on our environment. Industrial waste contaminates farmland around factories and mines. Chemical plants in the suburbs also produce organic and inorganic pollutants that are hazardous to the land. Therefore, we call for stronger supervision and liability-pursuing mechanisms that focus on the disposal of waste produced by industries known for producing heavy metal waste as well as the abuse of chemical products used during agricultural production."

According to the report, irrigation by polluted water, the improper use of fertilizers and pesticides and the development of livestock breeding also cause pollution to farming land.

Gao says soil rehabilitation is a time-consuming and costly process.

"Pollution is hard to eliminate because the self-purification capacity of soil and underground water is weak. China has focused on microbe and plant-restoring methods, while overseas countries use physical and chemical methods to restore the soil. It's easy for us to pollute soil, but it will cost us ten times or even one hundred times as much investment to purify it."

Facing with the alarming number, the government is taking countermeasures to better protect the soil environment and curb pollution.

The environment ministry is rushing to map out an anti-land pollution action plan in cooperation with other related departments.

Wu Xiaoqing is the deputy minister of the ministry.

"We are drafting an action plan on soil protection and pollution control. The plan will be based on notions of ensuring agricultural products' safety and providing a healthy living environment. That means we'll have to achieve the goal by enhancing the land quality of arable and construction sites.

Meanwhile, we'll strengthen laws which curb the soil pollution and better protect environmental safety. Moreover, regulation on pollution monitoring, control and remediation will also be enhanced."

Revising the environmental protection law, which took effect in 1989, has been deemed vital to curbing pollution.

The law is said to be reviewed by the country's top legislature at the end of this month.

For CRI, this is Alexander Aucott.


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