China alerted by serious soil pollution, vows better protection
Last Updated: 2014-04-18 07:35 | Xinhua
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Under the smoggy sky, another environment hazard is brought into the spotlight in China as an official report confirmed Thursday about 16.1 percent of its soil is polluted.

Alarmingly, about 19.4 percent of the farming land is polluted, said the report issued jointly by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land and Resources. ( The general condition of the land is "not optimistic" as the quality of farming land is worrying and deserted industrial and mining land suffers serious pollution, according to the report. >> More

It was based on a survey conducted from April, 2005, to December last year on about 630 square km of land across the country, except Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

The pollution has been caused by complicated factors over a long period of time. "The main pollution source is human industrial and agricultural activities," the report said.

Industrial waste contaminates land around factories and mines while automobile exhaust pollutes air along the country's main highways.

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

Chen Tongbin, research fellow with the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Xinhua that the report set off "a loud alarm" for the country's economic development pattern and environmental protection system.

"Compared with air and water pollution, soil pollution is more difficult to control and remedy, taking a much longer time and needing more resources," Chen said.

In addition to reduced quality and quantity of crops that threaten people's health upon consumption, such pollution might also result in health hazards for people living in areas where there is polluted soil after breathing in or having skin contact with pollutants.

While affecting the normal growth of plants and microbes and damaging the soils' function to preserve nutrients, these pollutants are likely to permeate into underground layers and contaminate drinking water sources.

In breakdown, 11.2 percent of the country's surveyed land suffers slight pollution, while 1.1 percent is severely polluted.

About 2.3 percent of the land is lightly polluted and 1.5 percent suffers medium pollution.

Some 10 percent of woodland and 10.4 percent of grassland is polluted, the report added.

About 82.8 percent of the polluted land is contaminated by inorganic materials and the top three pollutants are cadmium, nickel and arsenic.

Compared with survey results between 1986 and 1990, inorganic pollutants increased notably. For instance, the level of cadmium pollution rose by 50 percent in southwestern and coastal regions and 10 to 40 percent in other parts.

Geographically speaking, the southern part of China suffers heavier soil pollution than the north. Pollution is severe in three major industrial zones, the Yangtze River Delta in east China, the Pearl River Delta in south China and the northeast corner that used to be a heavy industrial hub.

Southwest and central Chinese provinces report a higher level of heavy metal pollution in the soil.

China fights soil pollution with science

Chinese scientists hope new technologies can save the country's farmland from widespread soil pollution.

Scientists in south China's Guangdong Province have discovered a chemical derived from a type of clay mineral that can help control heavy metal residues in farm soil to prevent them from entering crops. >> More

Soil pollution another alarm for China's development

Chinese people are helpless and accustomed to frequent severe smog, and this week they suffered another big blow when it comes to the environment they live in.

According to a report released by the government on Thursday, about 16.1 percent of soil and 19.4 percent of farm land in the Chinese mainland is polluted.

Human industrial and agricultural activities are the main source of the pollution, the report said.

Scientists found that soil pollution has already affected people's lives, resulting in excessive residue in agricultural products and contaminating ground water through permeation.

The report is another alarm for the country. >> More 

Carcinogens found in 82% of polluted land

More than 16 percent of China's soil and almost 20 percent of its agricultural land is polluted, according to an official report released yesterday.

The general condition of the land is "not optimistic," the report said. The quality of farmland was worrying and deserted industrial and mining land suffered serious pollution.

The report from the environmental protection and land and resources ministries is based on a survey conducted between April 2005 and last December on about 630 square kilometers of land across the country. >> More  

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