China plans to carry out extensive soil survey

China has announced plans to carry out an extensive soil survey to identify regions most affected by chemical, heavy metal, and other pollution.

27th April 2016

China plans to carry out extensive soil survey

China has announced plans to carry out an extensive soil survey to identify regions most affected by chemical, heavy metal, and other pollution.

The announcement comes at a crucial moment, with China reeling from its $1 trillion soil pollution problem arising from the country’s neck-breaking economic growth, which steered clear of environmental concerns.

The effects of pollution on agricultural productivity, health, and quality of life have reached dangerous levels that can no longer be ignored. The incessant pollution, equalling the country’s economic growth, has been a time bomb waiting to explode and drastic measures are needed to avoid further disaster.

China’s environment minister said the survey is expected to kick-start the government’s long-awaited plan to address soil pollution, earmarked to start in May.

Geological experts are worried that the government may hide the survey’s findings and their concern is not without base. A similar report, published in 2014, was classified as ‘state secret.’

According to Lin Jingxing of the Research Centre at Earth Environmental Sciences, part of the Chinese Academy of Geological sciences, the earlier report showed that levels of environmental pollution were much worse than expected.

‘‘For the next step, we need a clear idea of what’s beneath housing compounds and schools. Not every plot of land should be turned into a construction site,’’ he said.

The politically emotive survey could raise temperatures. Identification of hotspots is expected to reveal those corporations responsible for pollution, and could bring demands for compensation from victims. Based on this, Lin cautioned that the report may never be released. ‘‘The results would have too many negative implications and could cause public panic,’’ he said.

However, it would most likely spur the government into action. It remains to be seen how committed the government is to this course.

Published by Green Jobs Online - 27th April 2016

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