China’s Great Contaminated Soil Disaster

China’s smog is notorious, being at least ten times greater than the WHO’s maximum safe level.  Water pollution is equally bad, in addition to water shortages.  But the buried bomb is its contaminated soil.  Toxins in the earth remain there for centuries “and are hugely expensive to eradicate.  It took 21 years…to clean up the Love Canal, a site covering just 6.5 hectares”.

“In 2014 the government published a national soil survey which showed that 16.1% of all soil and 19.4% of farmland was contaminated by … chemical pollutants and metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic”.  This is 250,000 square kilometers of contaminated soil, “equivalent to all the arable farmland of Mexico”.  Officials say that 35,000 square kilometers of farmland is so polluted that no agriculture should be allowed on it.”

The Bad Earth, Contaminated Soil is the Biggest Threat to Public Health in China, The Economist, June 10, 2017