Over One Tenth of China's Arable Land Is Contaminated
According to the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources, more than one tenth of the farmland in China is contaminated and approximately 12 million tons of grain produced each year contain heavy metals, resulting in losses of more than 20 billion yuan (approximately US$2.54 billion).
Xinhua news , the CCP news agency, reported on April 22 that about 150 million mu (about 25 million acres) of farmland is contaminated. An additional 32.5 million mu (about 5 million acres) of farmland is watered by contaminated water, and about 2 million mu (about 330,000 acres) of farmland is covered with solid waste. This adds up to more than one tenth of the total arable land in China.
The Ministry of Land and Resources reported that soil pollution causes significant damage to the Chinese economy and to society. According to estimates, approximately 12 million tons of grain are contaminated by heavy metals each year, causing more than 20 billion yuan in losses. Soil contamination cause toxins to accumulate in produce, which can cause all kinds of diseases once consumed by human beings.
Authorities in the Ministry of Land and Resources said that in order to improve the soil contamination situation, China State Environmental Protection Administration and Ministry of Land and Resources should jointly initiate a “Nationwide Land Survey and Pollution Prevention” project. The Ministries are planning to spend 1 billion yuan (approximately US$127 million) over three and half years to systematically survey the soil contamination. The project will include research to help develop soil-contamination evaluation and monitoring standards and research to develop soil-contamination prevention strategies and policies.
Minister for Land and Resources, Mr. Sun Shengwen said that in recent years the Chinese economy has developed quickly, which has dramatically increased the demand for natural resources. The exploitation of natural resources has severely damaged the environment.
In order to mitigate the soil contamination problem, Mr. Sun Shengwen said China needs to conserve land and mineral resources, improve relevant laws and regulations, strengthen policies to manage resources better, and help people become aware of, and take responsibility for, improving the situation.