Excess heavy metals in 10% of China's land: report

November 7, 2011
Farmers are seen harvesting vegetables on farmland near Shanghai. About 10 percent of China's farmland contains excessive levels of heavy metals due to contaminated water and poisonous waste seeping into the soil, state media said Monday, citing a government survey.

About 10 percent of China's farmland contains excessive levels of heavy metals due to contaminated water and poisonous waste seeping into the soil, state media said Monday, citing a government survey.

Pollution from heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cancer-causing cadmium is often blamed for poisoning entire villages and crop-growing land in China as factory bosses flout environmental laws and farmers use toxic fertilisers.

The report in the Southern Metropolis Daily said the survey organised by the environmental protection ministry found about 10 percent of farmland had "striking problems of heavy metal levels exceeding (official) limits".

"Heavy incidents have occurred repeatedly in recent years," Wan Bentai, chief engineer at the ministry, was quoted saying.

"From January to August alone there were 11 cases -- nine involving lead in the blood."

The report did not say what level of was considered excessive or how much of the country's contained toxins.

China's rapid industrialisation over the past 30 years has enabled it to become the world's number-two economy.

But the focus on growth, combined with lax environmental protection, has saddled the country with some of the world's worst water and that has triggered numerous public and a growing number of protests.

Thousands of residents in the northeastern city of Dalian protested in August against a factory that made paraxylene, a flammable carcinogenic liquid used in the production of polyester films and fabrics.

In September, more than 500 residents living near a plant making solar panels protested for three days in the eastern city of Haining, forcing authorities to temporarily shut the factory.

In the same month, authorities in Shanghai halted production at most of the city's lead battery plants after 32 children living near two plants using lead in production reportedly were found to have excessive lead in their blood.

Explore further: China shuts US plant in lead scare: report

Related Stories

China shuts US plant in lead scare: report

September 23, 2011

An American-owned battery plant in China will remain shut until the end of the year over fears it has caused lead poisoning in local children, the Shanghai Daily reported on Friday.

China adopts heavy metal reduction plan

February 19, 2011

China has adopted a plan to tackle heavy-metal pollution, according to state media, after more than 30 major poisoning incidents since 2009.

China rice laced with heavy metals: report

February 16, 2011

Up to 10 percent of rice grown in China is contaminated with harmful heavy metals but little has been done to highlight the possible public health risks, a report said.

Shanghai shuts 2 factories in lead poisoning probe

September 16, 2011

(AP) -- Shanghai's environmental watchdog ordered two factories in its suburbs to halt production pending an investigation into the source of lead poisoning among children in a nearby village.

Chinese growth threatened by pollution: minister

February 28, 2011

Dire pollution and the gobbling of resources have caused China grave environmental problems and could restrain economic growth if not addressed properly, the environment minister said Monday.

Recommended for you

Greenland ice flow likely to speed up

August 16, 2017

Flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet is likely to speed up in the future, despite a recent slowdown, because its outlet glaciers slide over wet sediment, not hard rock, new research based on seismic surveys has confirmed. This ...

Supervolcanoes: A key to America's electric future?

August 16, 2017

Most of the lithium used to make the lithium-ion batteries that power modern electronics comes from Australia and Chile. But Stanford scientists say there are large deposits in sources right here in America: supervolcanoes.

Climate change will cut crop yields: study

August 15, 2017

Climate change will have a negative effect on key crops such as wheat, rice, and maize, according to a major scientific report out Tuesday that reviewed 70 prior studies on global warming and agriculture.

How friction evolves during an earthquake

August 15, 2017

By simulating earthquakes in a lab, engineers at Caltech have documented the evolution of friction during an earthquake—measuring what could once only be inferred, and shedding light on one of the biggest unknowns in earthquake ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.