Tainted soil rich in opportunity

Updated: 2016-06-01 14:31


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Tainted soil rich in opportunity

A farmer leans on his shovel as he takes a break from turning soil to plant crops in the town of Tianying, Anhui province, in this file photo dated November 19, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

Soil pollution would be under control in no more than 15 years under a bold new plan tipped to inject trillions of yuan into the Chinese economy.

The State Council released its Action Plan on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution yesterday, aiming to improve soil quality, ensure safe agricultural products and create a healthy living environment. It is estimated to add 2.7 trillion yuan ($411 billion) to the nation's GDP and create a market worth as much as 1 trillion yuan, the China Business News reports.

The plan is also expected to create about two million jobs.

It sets out to curb worsening soil pollution by 2020, put soil pollution risks under control by 2030 and form a virtuous cycle in the ecosystem by 2050.

"The new document is expected to bring a huge market for remediation of polluted soil, and create a market worth more than one trillion yuan," Zhang Yi, head of the Shanghai Environmental Sanitation Engineering Design Institute, told the newspaper.

Chinese soil quality has deteriorated in recent years. According to a survey released in 2014, more than 16 percent of China's soil exceeded state pollution limits.

Zhang says some businesses want to invest in the emerging soil remediation industry, but funding and technical barriers are very high.

Output in the soil remediation market only accounts for about one percent of the environmental protection industry – much less than the average thirty percent in developed countries, the newspaper reports.

But in the past six years, the number of domestic businesses engaged in soil pollution remediation has increased from just ten to almost 1,000, the newspaper said, citing Ministry of Environmental Protection officials.