Soil pollution remediation
Jan 20 2014
Author: Tong Zhang in New York, and Ivan Han, Jinling Wu in Shanghai on behalf of XportReporter
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Guangdong digs into soil remediation; opportunities for monitoring, chemical and environmental firms.
Guangdong, a coastal province in Southern China, is one of the leaders of the country’s most recent environmental cause of addressing soil pollution and contamination, renewing efforts that started then stagnated nearly seven years ago.
The province came under the media spotlight in May when a study by the local Food and Drug Administration in Guangzhou, Guangdong’s capital suggested nearly half of 18 rice samples tested in the market were found containing excessive levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal. Two subsequent surveys in other parts of Guangdong showed contamination levels of 5.8% and 1.4% of rice supplies.
The cadmium-tainted rice supplies pushed the province to put in motion a number of measures to address the soil contamination issue.
For example, Guangdong’s Department of Environmental Protection is establishing a soil quality monitoring system, which will be capable of regular monitoring by the year of 2015. The local government has also released a working plan and technical solutions on pollution remediation for arable land. Related soil treatment plans are under review and expected to be in effect by year-end.
In July, the Ministry of Agriculture selected Shuitou town (水头镇) of Qingyuan city (清远市) as one of the country’s arable land remediation demonstration areas, the only one in Guangdong province. The district covers 492 acres of arable land, and was found in 2005 to have cadmium levels five times greater than the limit previously set by the central government.
Another area, Dabaoshan (大宝山) mining area, located in Shaoguan (韶关), Guangdong province, where lead pollution was 44 times over the limit according to 2010 reports, is one of the six demonstration projects listed on the country’s 12th five-year-plan for soil remediation.
Also in July, the Department of Land and Resources of Guangdong province disclosed that 28% of soil collected in parts of the Pearl River Delta contains excessive level of mercury, cadmium, lead and arsenic.
The report also said that cities like Foshan, Jiangmen, and Baiyun, were found to have abnormal levels of radiation, exceeding the limit by 50%.
In 2012, Guangzhou invested USD 31m (CNY190m) to tackle heavy metal pollution in soil, and forced 492 polluted enterprises to close.
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