Tue Dec 31, 2013, 04:12 PM
n2doc (38,759 posts)
Pollution Rising, Chinese Fear for Soil and Food
CHENJIAWAN, China — The farm-to-table process in China starts in villages like this one in the agricultural heartland. Food from the fields of Ge Songqing and her neighbors ends up in their kitchens or in the local market, and from there goes to other provinces. The foods are Chinese staples: rice, cabbage, carrots, turnips and sweet potatoes.
But the fields are ringed by factories and irrigated with water tainted by industrial waste. Levels of toxic heavy metals in the wastewater here are among the highest in China, and residents fear the soil is similarly contaminated. Though they have no scientific proof, they suspect that a spate of cancer deaths is linked to the pollution, and worry about lead levels in the children’s blood.
“Of course I’m afraid,” said Ms. Ge, in her 60s, pointing to the smokestacks looming over her fields and the stagnant, algae-filled irrigation canals surrounding a home she shares with a granddaughter and her husband, a former soldier. “But we don’t do physical checkups. If we find out we have cancer, it’s only a burden on the children.”
With awareness of China’s severe environmental degradation rising, there has been a surge of anxiety in the last year among ordinary Chinese and some officials over soil pollution in the country’s agricultural centers and the potential effects on the food chain. In recent years, the government has conducted widespread testing of soil across China, but it has not released the results, adding to the fear and making it more difficult for most Chinese to judge what they eat and pinpoint the offending factories.
An alarming glimpse of official findings came on Monday, when a vice minister of land and resources, Wang Shiyuan, said at a news conference in Beijing that eight million acres of China’s farmland, equal to the size of Maryland, had become so polluted that planting crops on it “should not be allowed.”
8 replies, 1001 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Pollution Rising, Chinese Fear for Soil and Food (Original post)
|rhett o rick||Dec 2013||#5|
|Heywood J||Jan 2014||#7|
Response to n2doc (Original post)
Tue Dec 31, 2013, 05:54 PM
Johonny (12,861 posts)
2. Given the Chinese government isn't afraid to put massive amount of money in infrastructure
and the population seems seriously concerned about pollution you wonder if the pollution problem will start to be worked on.
Response to Johonny (Reply #2)
Wed Jan 1, 2014, 10:52 AM
Heywood J (2,515 posts)
7. By "infrastructure", do you mean the pockets of officials at all levels?
The huge spending connected with the rail expansion has also been blamed for corruption. Railways minister Liu Zhijun was sacked this spring amid an investigation into unspecified corruption allegations.
No details have been released about the allegations against him, but news reports say they include illegal payments, bribes, illegal contracts and sexual liaisons.
The Chinese Government says nearly 100 officials have been convicted of corruption while working on the controversial Three Gorges Dam project.
Reports said 97 officials had been punished, including one who was sentenced to death for embezzling more than $1m.
Since 2011, eight bridges have collapsed around the country, according to China's state-run media. The cases include one in April 2011, when a cable snapped on a suspension bridge in Western China's Xinjiang region, sending a chunk of roadway plunging onto a riverbank.
Two months later, a bridge in southern China's Fujian province collapsed, leaving one dead and 22 injured.
And in March this year, a bridge under construction in Central China's Hubei province snapped in half.
Chinese have a phrase for these failing infrastructure projects: doufazha, which means "bean curd dregs."
Over the first eight months of this year, about 6,800 officials have been prosecuted for corruption in infrastructure projects across the country, according to last month's statement from the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the country's key anti-graft agency.
Local prosecutors, closely involved in corruption investigations, discovered that bribery has become a regular part in many contractors' budget as "public relations expenses."