China announces soil pollution controls

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China will conduct regular investigations into soil quality every 10 years, and establish a database for soil by 2018. [File photo]

An action plan on tackling soil pollution in China was released Tuesday.

The Action Plan for Soil Pollution Prevention and Control aims to improve soil quality and ensure safe agricultural products and a healthy living environment for people, according to the State Council, or China's cabinet.

The document said China will curb worsening soil pollution by 2020, put soil pollution risks under control by 2030, and form a virtuous cycle in the ecosystem by 2050.

The country is already carrying out soil pollution surveys, promoting legislation on soil pollution prevention and control, enhancing land management, protecting uncontaminated, supervising pollution sources, treating and restoring polluted soil, and increasing support for research in environmental protection.

According to the document, by 2020, 90 percent of polluted arable land and land used for industries and enterprises should be made safe for use, and the figure will be increased to 95 percent by 2030.

The action plan said China, through surveys, aims to find out the size and the distribution of polluted arable land and land used for key industries and enterprises by 2018 and 2020 respectively. Their influences on agricultural products and environment will also be checked out.

China will conduct regular investigations into soil quality every 10 years, and establish a database for soil by 2018, said the document.

By 2020, 13,340 square kilometers of heavily polluted farmland will be returned into forest and grassland, according to the plan.

The cabinet also ordered to include soil assessment in environmental assessment for construction projects discharging major pollutants.

Lists of industrial and mining enterprises that are identified as key targets for soil pollution will be established and released to the public, said the plan.

To control soil pollution by heavy metals, China has vowed to cut the discharge of major heavy metal pollutants in key industries by 10 percent from 2013 by 2020.

This is the third pollution action plan issued by the cabinet, following those targeting air and water pollution.

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