China revealed a major state secret … and just told another lie.
20%??? Make that 60% and we’re probably much closer to the truth.
I’ve studied acupuncture in China and even back then China was already polluted.
My Tai Chi teacher told us in 1997 that Chinese herbs are contaminated and have become pretty much worthless and outright dangerous to one’s health.
(They had to heavily contaminate China and bombard them with our junk food, because otherwise it would be almost impossible to depopulate China. And killing 6 billion people is not an easy task.)
At least we can be rest assured that China’s elites know what is good for them:
– China just revealed a major state secret: nearly 20% of its farmland is polluted (Quartz, April 18, 2014):
Almost one-fifth of China’s farmland is polluted, according to a government report released this week. Officials have acknowledged the country’s problems with water and air pollution, but the extent of soil contamination has been a closely guarded “state secret,” for fear of incriminating certain provinces or companies.
About 19.4% of China’s farmland is polluted by cadmium, nickel and arsenic, according to the seven-year study that analyzed a little over half of China’s entire land area. One-fifth of China’s total arable land is about 26 million hectares (64 million acres), the same area as the United Kingdom, by the most recent estimates.
The pollution is concentrated around the Yangtze and Pearl River Deltas—key sources of water in the country and home to millions of people—as well as in parts of the south where much of China’s rice is grown. Last year, half of all samples of rice in Guangzhou were found to have poisonous levels of cadmium, a chemical that can cause kidney failure when ingested. The main causes are agriculture and industry, the report said. (Farmers contribute to soil pollution with their use of fertilizers and pesticides and improper disposal of animal waste.)
Why officials chose to release the results isn’t clear. Authorities have recently admitted environmental mistakes, like the existence of villages near industrial plants where cancer rates have soared, which they had long denied. Still, the soil study results may be optimistic. In December, an official said 3 million hectares of Chinese farmland are now too polluted to even grow crops on. Other estimates of China’s soil pollution are as much as 40-70% of total land, as we’ve noted before.
The worst part may be that the brunt of pollution is borne by villagers, whose farmland and animals are closest to the factories and mines that release contaminants. They are also the most likely to be punished for protesting. Last week, a school teacher in Hunan province was given three years in prison (paywall) for organizing a protest against a local chemical plant. One reason may be that local governments often depend upon these factories or other industrial projects for revenue.
– Nearly 20 percent of Chinese farmland contaminated (RT, April 18, 2014):
A new official report has confirmed that one fifth of Chinese farmland is polluted. It cites the main causes as industry and agriculture. The report was originally a state secret and names heavy metals such as arsenic and cadmium as main pollutants.
The report on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection confirms the extent of soil pollution in China as a result of the country’s dramatic industrialization, overuse of farm chemicals and minimal environmental protection.
The survey describes deserted industrial and mining land as the most polluted and the quality of farmland it says is worrying, while overall situation it says is “not optimistic.”
Started in 2005 and finished in December 2013, the study covered about 630 square kilometers of land and took around 100,000 samples across China.
70 percent of the samples were “lightly polluted” with pollution levels at twice the national standard and 7 percent were “heavily polluted” with levels more than five times the national standard.
Most of the land surveyed is on the east coast of China, which is the most industrial part of the country. Although the report found that the southwest of the country was particularly badly hit by heavy metal pollution.
In the case of heavy metal pollution, health risks can take decades to emerge and health officials have already admitted the existence of so-called “cancer villages,” where cancer rates are way above the national average in towns and villages next to large industrial enterprises and factories.
The study released by the Chinese government was originally labeled as a state secret, so it is unclear whether what was released comprises all the information and data that was collected.
Dong Zhengwei, a Beijing based lawyer, who requested the findings of the study was initially refused and told that the ministry could only release a few details.
Chex Xiwen, the deputy director of China’s top agricultural authority, admitted in January that millions of hectares of farmland may have to be withdrawn from use because of pollution by heavy metals, particularly cadmium, nickel and arsenic, the Guardian reported.
Last December the vice minister of land and resources estimated that 3.3 million hectares of land, mostly in grain producing regions, is polluted.
Public anger at the staggering extent of the problem has played a large part in pressuring the government to release data on pollution. Even some quarters of the state media are clamoring for more openness. The Communist Party run People’s Daily said “covering this up only makes people think: We’re being lied to.”
It is this pressure which forced the ministry’s hand in giving Zhengwei at least some information. Without this, “public anger would get stronger, and soil contamination would deteriorate, while news of cancer villages and poisonous rice would continue to spring up,” he told AP.
One of the major concerns for scientists and doctors is Cadmium, a carcinogenic metal that causes kidney damage, which is absorbed by rice. Last May authorities launched an investigation into rice mills in southern China after half of the rice supplies in the city of Guangzhou were found to be contaminated with cadmium.
In early 2013, the Nanfang Daily reported that tens of thousands of cadmium-tainted rice had been sold to a noodle maker, but the effects of eating toxic produce can take 10-30 years to develop as a disease.
Water and air pollution is also a serious problem in China but soil pollution has to date received a lot less attention.