Government must tackle problem of soil pollution

Updated: 2013-12-10 21:08

By Li Yang (

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The Chinese government must squarely face up to contamination of the country’s soil, which has long been covered up and causes grave harm to people’s health, says an article in the 21st Century Business Herald. Excerpt:

The Ministry of Environmental Protection indicated recently that the soil contamination treatment market, once opened, would be worth dozens of trillions of yuan (trillions of dollars).

As it is very difficult to restore polluted soil, current laws and regulations mainly focus on taking protective and precautionary measures to tackle such issues on farmland.

In 2011, the Ministry of Environmental Protection took a dim view of the overall soil environmental condition in China and disclosed that about 8.3 percent of arable land was polluted, a figure experts said came from statistics from the 1990s.

Therefore, the Chinese government must first conduct a national survey on soil contamination and classify land into categories according to its condition, with corresponding measures and risk evaluation systems. Local governments must actively respond to the issues of soil pollution reported by the people.

Such environmental and health risk assessments on soil contamination have been in place in some developed countries, such as the United States, the Netherlands and Australia, for a long time.

The government must verify the main industrial and agricultural pollution sources and take timely measures to repair past damage while preventing new incremental pollution.