Contaminated sites are increasing in major cities, as urban sprawls has overrun many pollution factories, pushing them to new locations, China Daily reports. This serious issue was given priority status at the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Consultative Conference (CPPCC), last week.
Jia Kang, a CPPCC National Committee member, called for a soil protection law immediately. Jia, who also heads the institute of fiscal science at the Ministry of Finance, said that land pollution is already threatening the sustainability of economic growth and social stability.
Last November, an affordable compound,
with 2,400 apartments, was constructed in
The construction was almost finished when an environmental review by China University of Geoscience discovered that the site was contaminated with antimony, a metallic element that can cause heart and lung problems.
Plastic sheeting was spread over 21,000 squares meters to insulate the contaminated soil, and new soil was spread on the top of the plastic. The measures cost the developer 6.8 million Yuan (1.03 million dollars), according to The Beijing News.
“Pollution incidents associated with
land contamination are becoming a growing concern In
A recent study conducted by World Bank
Soil contamination usually involves toxic heavy metals from steel, iron and smelting plants; persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from pesticide residues; organic chemical compounds from petrochemical industries; and electronic wastes.
Heavy metals and POPs rarely break down over time and can accumulate in the environment. They can be absorbed into the body through drinking water and food consumption, causing harm to organs or even cancer.
Experts estimate that contaminated industrial sites in the country number 300,000 to 600,000.
Remediation for such sites has become urgent as the country’s rapid urbanization creates an enormous demand for usable land. This procedure requires both funding and technical guidelines from the government.
Some developers argue that they should not have to pay the costs of remediation since they were not the people who cause the pollution.
For Wang Shuyi,
director of the Research Institute of Environmental Law at
The existing laws and regulations, such as the Environmental Protection Law and the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law, are not able to effectively tackle land pollution, Jia said.