China Aims to Pass Soil Pollution Law, Addressing Widespread Contamination

China is aiming to pass its first soil pollution law next year to address what Chinese officials are calling a “serious” problem of widespread contamination of the nation’s agricultural land.
Li Feng/Yale E360
Wastewater from a chemical plant in China.
The pollution is the result of three decades of rapid economic and industrial development that left landscapes ridden with toxins and heavy metals, contaminated staple crops like rice, and jeopardized public health. “Looking at the results of soil pollution surveys from relevant departments of the State Council ”¦ it’s not easy to be optimistic. Some areas are seriously polluted,” Yuan Si, deputy head of parliament’s Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee, told reporters. The soil pollution law has gone through 10 drafts already and will likely be put on the legislative agenda for 2017, Yuan said.