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China to publish new soil standards by year end

Updated: May 23,2017 8:31 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — China plans to hammer out new soil quality standards for land used for farming and construction by the end of this year, an environment official said on May 23.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) initiated the revision in 2014 as the current standards published more than twenty years ago are unable to keep pace of the changing situation.

“We have solicited public opinion three times since 2015 and are still working on it,” MEP official Zou Shoumin said at a news conference.

The draft aims to classify soil remediation to meet different needs in farmland and construction land, Zou said.

The move is a significant step toward the much bigger task of improving the country’s environmental regulation with up-to-date requirements.

The MEP is set to roll out an array of other norms for environmental quality and pollutant discharge during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), according to Zou, who cited standards in seawater quality, in-vehicle air quality, paint, pesticides and automobile exhaust.

China now has 1,753 national environmental standards, said the MEP.

“Generally speaking, the emission standards for air and water match those in developed countries in terms of the number of pollutants and strictness,” Zou said.