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China's price for progress: One fifth of its soil found contaminated

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/18/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

High industrialization has wreaked heavy cost on country dependent on agriculture

China leap into an economic powerhouse has come at a very heavy price. A recent study has found that a fifth of China's soil is contaminated. According to an official study released by the government, 16.1 percent of China's soil and 19.4 percent of its arable land has shown signs of contamination.

China's rapid industrialization is feared to be causing irreparable damage to its environment.

China's rapid industrialization is feared to be causing irreparable damage to its environment.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
4/18/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Contamination, China, soil, study


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Conducted through the years of 2005-2013, the report by the Environmental Protection Ministry listed cadmium, nickel and arsenic as the nation's top pollutants. The study took samples across an area of 6.3 million square kilometers, two-thirds of China's land area.

China's rapid industrialization is feared to be causing irreparable damage to its environment.

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"The survey showed that it is hard to be optimistic about the state of soil nationwide," the ministry said in a statement on its Web site.

"Due to long periods of extensive industrial development and high pollutant emissions, some regions have suffered deteriorating land quality and serious soil pollution."

Noting the growing "grim situation," the state would implement measures including a "soil pollution plan" and better legislation, the report suggests.

Levels of pollution ranged from slight to severe. About 82.8 percent of the polluted land was contaminated by inorganic materials, with levels noticeably higher than the previous survey between 1986 and 1990.

"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," the agency said.

The report had been kept under wraps, and was previously listed as a state secret because of its sensitivity.

Modernization has taken a heavy - and perhaps irreversible toll on the country's air, water and soil.

The central government has promised to make tackling the issue a top priority. Vested interests and lax enforcement of regulations at local level make this challenging.

The Chinese have grown increasingly vocal by taking to the streets to protest against the proposed construction of chemical plants in their cities.

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