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China begins soil pollution clean-up amid doubt over funding

Published on Apr 11, 2014 4:52 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China has announced its first pilot projects to treat metal pollution in soil and prevent farmland from further contamination, but critics say the government's overall efforts are underfunded and inefficient.

The Ministry of Finance will subsidise soil pollution prevention and treatment in three cities in the central province of Hunan, state media reported, as pilot efforts to halt developments that have rendered 3.33 million hectares of Chinese farmland too polluted to grow crops on.

Hunan was the source of rice containing dangerous levels of toxic cadmium sold in the southern city of Guangzhou last year.

Under the plan, the Ministry of Agriculture will monitor and control metal residues to prevent them from leaking into the soil, while the rice crop will be replaced with cotton and other non-edible products.

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