The invisible pollution that poisons China.
Macarena Vidal Liy, The Nation newspaper, July 6 2016.
The Chinese government is promoting a plan to curb soil pollution, which affects 16% of its territory, soil pollution is as bad as the air problem, only less visible, many people suffering from rare diseases, including young people develop cancer. In 3.3 million hectares the amount of toxic forced to prohibit planting, among the main causes of environmental contamination are identified: toxic waste from factories, the use of contaminated water for irrigation, excessive use of pesticides. By 2020 the plan expected to have reduced the worsening pollution. By 2030, it aims to have started improving soil quality, and by 2050 will have reversed the effects of pollution.
Daying north is the Maoying village of 4000 inhabitants and near the city of Xinji, which claims to be the capital of leather in China. A huge open air dump waste collected a hundred specialized factories. Its inhabitants do not dare to open the windows due to bad permanent smell, and complain about how their drinking water murky. Many people suffering from rare diseases, including young people develop cancer.
Unfortunately, they are not isolated cases. Soil pollution in China is as serious a problem as the air, only less visible, says Ada Kong, director of the campaign against Greenpeace toxics in East Asia.
The results of a study by the Ministry of Natural Resources between 2005 and 2013 and partially reported in 2014, found that 19.4% of agricultural land, and 16.1% of total soil are contaminated. In 3.3 million hectares the amount of toxic forced to prohibit planting, among the causes, toxic waste from factories, the use of contaminated water for irrigation or excessive use of pesticides.
But the reality may be even worse. Critics consider that the samples taken from 10,000 points in 1500 examined areas were unrepresentative and did not take into account all possible toxic elements. Gao Shengda, secretary general of the Industrial Association of China soil regeneration, calculated at told in the People’s Daily that between 300,000 and 500,000 contaminated soil areas throughout the country.
After three years of preparation, the Chinese Government issued on May 31 a plan to combat soil pollution, which complements the already approved against air pollution and water. By 2020 the plan expected to have reduced the worsening pollution. 2030, aims to be turning a soil quality, and by 2050 will have reversed the effects of pollution. Among his proposals it is expected to be cleared 666,000 hectares of farmland and convert 13,340 square kilometers of land contaminated forests and grasslands to within 4 years.
Although the project has some problems. It is difficult to force your application until the new law of soil pollution control, which could happen next year is approved. “The accuracy of the 2014 research is not much, we need accurate data,” says Wang Xiahui, director of the Center for Soil Protection Academy of Environmental Protection. Experts expect to complete a study on arable land by the end of 2018 and 2020 for industrial land.
Implement the plan in its entirety will be also an extremely expensive task. Its writers estimate that will be needed around 300.000 billion yuan (40.506 million euros). But in 2016, it grew by 146% over the previous year, but the official budget was only 9000 million. Qingdao Gu researcher of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences Research and one of the participants in drawing up the plan, suggests the possibility of establishing partnerships between the private sector and the public.
But above all, the plan places the responsibility for compliance on local authorities. Given the scale of the problem, no have the staff and the right knowledge can represent a major challenge for these governments, considers Kong.