China's arable land heavily contaminated

Beijing - Since 2005, China conducted a nine year research on the quality of the country's arable land. The announcement of the results last year, however, was cancelled at the last minute, and the report was declared a state secret. More recently, the pressure from the population became too great, and the environmental protection institution published on five pages, an alarming summary of the data. The figures are dramatic: about one-fifth of China's arable land is polluted with substances such as cadmium, nickel and arsenic. 

Contaminated food could be in circulation all across the country, fears Wu Yixiu, expert in poisonous substances of Greenpeace in China. "This is very alarming with regard to food safety," Yixiu told news agency dpa, in Beijing. Probably millions of people live and work on highly toxic soil, without knowing it.

So far, the people have been kept in the dark about which regions are the most affected. "This should be communicated directly to the people," claims expert Yixiu. Otherwise they cannot protect themselves. "Poison in the ground is invisible to the naked eye." 

The land could also contain more poisonous substances than announced, fears Yixiu. "The message is very short and vague," she says. The levels ​​are much higher than in previous publications of government agencies, but they are very inaccurate, as only one sample was taken per 54 square kilometres.


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