Unfamous Soil Contamination

In the last blog, we took a look at the event of School that should never been built. The infamous event brought soil contamination to spotlight. Even so, it is an “unfamous” problem of China, compared to air and water pollution.

Being unfamous does not at all equal to newness or being not severe. As early as 2014, China officially investigated on its land and revealed shocking findings–16.1% soil and 19.4% arable land showed contamination. In 2015, Tianjin Port Explosion caused toxic chemicals to leak into local underground water and soil systems.

Likewise, there is no lack of soil contamination cases worldwide, America’s Love Canal Disaster and Japan’s Minamata Disease. The common ground is that soil contamination are likely to last decades.

For China as a developing nation, chemical plants are everywhere. Journalists revealed latent dangers from plants and warehouses alike in many port cities namely Shanghai, Ningbo, Tangshan, Qingdao, etc. Unregulated waste-dumping and exploding risks are life-threatening for local residents.

Soil contamination has lots of impacts. Firstly, polluted land cannot grow anything, let alone crops. When we say that Earth is blue from the outer space, green is what everyone could see standing on Earth. Secondly, it affects public health directly and indirectly. In the Changzhou Toxic Land case, poisonous smell came from soil due to remediation process, causing physical discomfort. Crops grown on polluted land are poisonous and threatening public health. According to statistics, around 12 million tons of crops are polluted by heavy metal in soil in China every year.

Polluted land in China. Photo/CFP

It is widely known that we should not do “treatment after pollution”. But since almost 20% of soil has been contaminated, besides cleaning and restoring the lands, we should do best to keep the damage away from public.

In the case of Changzhou, it is revealed that construction started 7 months before its Environmental Impact Assessment was approved. In the subsequent reportage of Tianjin Port Explosion, journalists discovered that many residence areas, even schools are too close to chemical plants or warehouses. Law experts point out deficiencies in current regulations about chemical production, storage, transport, etc.

These stages can be controlled by human to decrease casualty as well as further environmental pollution. There are lots of things to improve.

Every accident should be a lessen to be remembered and learned from. The public are not good at remembering; the media in most cases report on events lately happened. Painful histoties should be made valuable before forgotten.


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