China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Friday, March 03, 2006

Deteriorating environment challenges rural development

HARBIN, March 2 (Xinhuanet) -- A concerned Li Chunlong can not understand why his farmland does not yield as much quality corn as before.

55-year-old farmer lives in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, which is dubbed "the Granary of China" for its large areas of fertile and productive black soil.

a recent research report said that the ecological environment is in a critical condition in Northeast China, which also includes Jilin and Liaoning provinces, as excessive land reclamation, grazing and irrational use of fertilizer and pesticide, have led to a sharp deterioration in the quality of its soil.

report, issued by the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said 34 percent of the total black land in the region has been eroded, and the black soil layer has been reduced by 50 percent over the past five decades.

Hongwen, a provincial agricultural official of Heilongjiang, said irrational land development, neglect of water and soil conservation, as well as over-cultivation, have accelerated the deterioration.

the deterioration can not be halted in time, sustainable development would be gravely affected in the region," the report warned.

many parts of China's rural areas, modernized agricultural production, resource exploitation and urbanization have been detrimental to the environment.

statistics indicate that over one third of the country's land has been ravaged by acid rain and many of its major rivers are polluted.

Daye Lake, located in central China's Hubei Province, once boasted an area of 1,106 square kilometers. It has shrunk to only one third of its area in the 1950s.

ago the lake was abundant in fish and local people made a living by fishing," said 58-year-old Feng Meilin, a farmer who lives near the lake.

now not only the fish are dying out. The lake is also in danger of disappearing, as large amounts of deposits from nearby iron mines have been discharged into the lake and have silted it."

exploitation of iron mines has also resulted in the reduction of the underground water level, which makes it more difficult to get enough water for crops and drinking, another local farmer said.

experts said that rural environmental pollution in China is increasingly severe as more and more factories move to the suburbs when local officials introduce industrial projects.

China's vast rural areas, especially in those developed areas with township enterprises and exploitation projects, land and water without any pollution has become rare.

China sets out to build a new socialist countryside, improving the rural environment is becoming more urgent.

sustainable development of China's rural areas has a lot to do with the ecological environment," said Zhao Yanbin, a provincial environment conservation official.

the rural environment can not be improved as soon as possible, hundreds of millions of Chinese farmers may fall victim to the deteriorating rural environment," Zhao said.


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