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CHINESE SEVERE SOIL POLLUTION: A CONSENSUS ABOUT THE METHODS TO FOLLOW STILL LACKING

Data have clearly shown the extent of the Chinese soil pollution crisis. However, the consensus about the measures to undertake is still lacking.

A recent survey has revealed that 16.1% of sampling points nationwide were in violation of soil quality standards, with farmland suffering the highest failure rate at 19.4%.

According to some experts of the School of Resources and Environment at Qingdao Agricultural University, the government has not yet reached a consensus on the objectives for remediation of polluted farmland. Additionally, there are different points of view across different levels of government. This situation represents one of the main obstacle to meet a common political position in this field.

 Moreover, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has launched a policy to support soil remediation, stressing that the soil will be protected from further pollution. On the contrary, critics have stressed the lack of adequate instruments capable to achieve actual remediation of the soil.

Furthermore, concerns and controversy reigns in academic circles. Some experts highlight the urgency to clean up the soil in order to avoid further negative consequences on crops, groundwater and surface water, reducing the severe impact of pollution on the environment and public health in the long-term. However, the situation is complex, experts say. Remediation technology is still inadequate, increasing the costs that the society has to face.

In addition to that, researchers have pointed out that there is a lack of experience in remediation techniques and management, worsening the Chinese environmental safety. These experts have also suggested the importance to reinforce investments in this area, establishing new models and technologies.

In this framework, the "polluter pays" principle is used, but the party responsible for historical pollution is often difficult to find. Consequently, it is fundamental that the government will undertake stronger rules to change polluting behaviour in order to avoid the alarming threat of contamination over Chinese fields.

 

The gLAWcal Team

EPSEI project

Friday, 8 August 2014

(Source: ChinaDialogue)