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China draws up plan to tackle widespread soil pollution

Published on Mar 19, 2014 2:34 PM
 
China's environmental authorities have passed a plan to tackle soil pollution as the government becomes increasingly concerned about the risk to food posed by widespread contamination of farmland. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's environmental authorities have passed a plan to tackle soil pollution as the government becomes increasingly concerned about the risk to food posed by widespread contamination of farmland.

About 3.33 million hectares of China's farmland - about the size of Belgium - is too polluted for crops, a government official said in December, after decades of industrial development and poorly enforced laws allowed poisonous metals and discharge to seep into soil and water.

The plan, together with a soil pollution law in the drafting stage, is expected to focus on protecting food supplies and ensuring that contaminated crops do not enter the food chain.

China has time and again published policies and plans aimed at addressing environmental problems but it has long struggled to bring big polluting industries and growth-obsessed local governments to heel.

 
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