China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Monday, February 26, 2007

China speeds up first survey on soil pollution

(Xinhua)

Updated: 2007-02-22 17:18


China is speeding up its first survey on soil pollution which is costing the

country more than 20 billion yuan (about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars) a year,

according to the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) recently.





However, the administration did not provide any details of the ways in

which they might complete the survey, which began last July, more quickly.





The investigation focuses on farmland protection areas, main

grain-producing areas, the Yangtze Delta Region, Pearl River Delta Region, and

areas around Bohai Bay.



China launched two nationwide investigations

into its soil quality respectively in the 1950s and 1970s but the two previous

ones investigated the fertility of the soil rather than soil pollution.





The central government is to allocate 1 billion yuan (125 million U.S.

dollars) for the national survey which will be concluded in 2008.



After

the survey, plans will be drafted for soil pollution prevention and pilot

projects on rehabilitating and treating the soil will be carried out. A soil

quality supervision and management system will also be built.



SEPA

director Zhou Shengxian has said that China faces "serious" soil pollution that

jeopardizes the ecology, food safety, people's health and the sustainable

development of agriculture.



It is estimated that 12 million tons of

grain are polluted each year by heavy metals that have found their way into

soil. Direct economic losses exceed 20 billion yuan (about 2.5 billion U.S.

dollars), according to SEPA figures.

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