At least 10 million hectares of cultivated land in China
are polluted, which poses a grave threat to the country's food safety, the
Xinhua News Agency reported on Friday.
Rubbish floats on a
river crossing the city of Hefei, east China's Anhui province, November 9,
The polluted land, which is mostly in economically developed areas, accounts
for one-tenth of the country's total arable land, according to an incomplete
survey by the State Environmental Protection Administration, China's top
Pollution on cultivated land threatens the environment, food safety and the
sustainable development of agriculture, the administration said.
The report said the status quo of arable land pollution is "rather grave."
Because of chronic, excessive use of chemical fertilizer, pesticide and
agricultural plastic sheeting, as well as irrigation using polluted water, a
large amount of contaminants remain in the cultivated land.
The contaminants affect the soil's ecological structure and function, leading
to decreased soil productivity, lower crop yield, and lower quality of
It also leads to worse water quality in rural areas.
Less than 9 per cent of drinkable water passed checks for bacteria in 243
rural water supply stations across the country.
Another survey, which took samples of drinking water and groundwater at 69
small towns in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province of North China, showed that
more than half of the water contains excessive nitrate, which may cause diabetes
and damage the kidney.
The administration estimated at least 190 million farmers are drinking water
that contains harmful substances.
Many villagers drink unfiltered water taken from shallow water wells or water
cellars, which are reported to have poor sanitary conditions.