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A recent report from Greenpeace has revealed the strong impact of heavy-metal pollution on crops in the Hunan province, the major producer of metal in China. Soil pollution represents one of the most alarming issues that affect Chinese environmental safety.

This report, based on tests of soil, water and rice taken from villages near a cluster of industrial smelters, has shown that cadmium levels are above legal limits in 12 out of 13 rice samples and in some cases, quantities of the heavy metal exceeded the accepted levels by a factor of 21.

According to Greenpeace, a more efficient and respectful metals industry should minimize future environmental risks, balancing the needs of industry with environmental demands. In line with this, government should undertake strategies and stricter measures in order to control emissions with a more careful supervision of the industry.

Moreover, establishing advanced pollution-control techniques could be an adequate instrument to cut heavy-metal emissions, and smelting firms should be monitored and encouraged to report pollution data, in order to allow a better public oversight.

Metals production need to be adequately planned in order to reduce environmental harm, Greenpeace say. To achieve this fundamental goal, the government needs to take a longer-term view, closing down the smaller plants and planning strategies for the development of the sector.

Soil pollution is a great threat for the environment, affecting both the quantity and quality of crops. Data show that in some cases farmers are experiencing a drop of 50% of yields, stressing that the excessive levels of cadmium represent a great damage for human health.

Following this, soil pollution of vast rural areas will inevitably entail a strong impact on food security.  Due to the fact that Hunan is China’s biggest rice-grower, soil pollution would constitute a heavy blow for the entire country that the government should urgently address.


The gLAWcal Team

Thursday, 15 May 2014

(source: Chinadialogue)