China releases its first ever soil pollution prevention plan, Greenpeace response

Press release - 2016-06-01
Beijing, 31 May, 2016 - China’s State Council today released the Soil Pollution Prevention Action Plan, China’s first ever policy plan aimed at tackling the country’s prevalent soil pollution problem. The document aims to ensure that 90% of currently polluted farmland is usable by 2020. Greenpeace East Asia urges the government to strengthen the plan by complementing it with legal measures and reforming the country’s polluting agricultural system.

“A policy to tackle China’s endemic soil pollution has been desperately overdue for years now. In terms of its ambition, comprehensiveness and its promise to regularly disclose data to the public, the Soil Pollution Prevention Action Plan is a welcome first step,” said Ada Kong Greenpeace East Asia toxics manager.

As more and more heavy industries move from eastern to central and western China, it is vital to combat the potential correlative spread of soil pollution.

“The action plan must be given the teeth to truly combat soil pollution. Greenpeace urge the government to complement the plan with soil pollution law and tackle agricultural pollution, before it is too late,” said Ada Kong.

Given that an estimated one fifth of China’s farmland soil is severely polluted [1], the Soil Pollution Prevention Action Plan is extremely ambitious. Its aim to have 90% of polluted farmland usable to grow food will put extra pressure on the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) to achieve its agriculture pollution prevention goals by 2020.

Soil pollution in China is a serious problem which has posed major health risks for years. Most recently, the Changzhou Foreign Languages School scandal in March showed again just how desperately effective soil pollution prevention policy is needed.

The Soil Pollution Prevention Action Plan will require effective coordination between departments and rigorous enforcement in order to tackle China’s epidemic soil pollution problem. Greenpeace urges the MEP to go the extra step and introduce soil protection law to complement and strengthen the action plan. In addition, both the MEP and MOA should work to reform China’s agricultural model into a sustainable and ecological model.


[1] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/chinas-choice/2014/apr/18/china-one-fifth-farmland-soil-pollution
Media Contact:

Tom Baxter,
International Communications Officer, Greenpeace East Asia,
email:
phone: +86 188 1134 4861

Greenpeace International Press Desk
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phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

Greenpeace stands for positive change through action to defend the natural world and promote peace. We are a non-profit organisation with a presence in 40 countries. To maintain its independence, Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments or corporations but relies on contributions from individual supporters and foundation grants.www.greenpeace.org/eastasia

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