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New actions needed to save soil

Updated: Nov 12,2015 9:24 AM     China Daily

China needs to develop its comprehensive soil protection law, along with incentives such as special funds to support conservation efforts, because the country is confronted with worsening soil pollution mainly because of human activities, a recent study said.

Among the policies, the Action Plan on Soil Pollution Prevention and Control, a national campaign targeting pollution, is expected facilitate soil conservation nationwide.

“China lacks regulations on soil pollution management ... and financial guarantees for soil remediation, which potentially require major funds,” said Wang Shuyi, co-chair of the Soil Pollution Management Policy Study undertaken by the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.

The China Geological Survey, a department under the Ministry of Land and Resources released research in July, saying 8 percent of the investigated farmland has been contaminated as of the end of 2014.

The research, which was carried out over 15 years, studied over 92.4 million hectares of farmland, accounting for 68 percent of the national total, said Wang at the three-day annual meeting of the council, which began on Nov 9.

His team found that the soil contamination has not been effectively controlled and has in fact worsened in recent years because of the human activities.

In a bid to control the contamination, China has enacted controls since 2005, releasing a series of policies and laws including the Land Administrative Law.

But those moves have not been sufficient, Wang’s study found, and suggested the country formulate comprehensive systems for soil environmental protection including national standards on soil quality and encourage massive participation with financial support.

Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection also voiced the lack of integrated laws to control soil pollution, saying the existing laws only provide principles and guidelines, which need more detailed supplemented regulations.

The draft Law on Soil Pollution Prevention has been handled in the special environment committee of the national legislative body.

The action plan on the prevention and control of soil pollution is also expected to be released soon, said Liu Hua, chief engineer of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

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