The world’s focus has been on China for years now. As their industrial revolution continues to grow so does their soil pollution issues. The Ministry of Environmental Protection (Use Google Chrome Translate to read the article) has recently confirmed the extent of the issue at hand. This report details how 20% of the Chinese soil is exceeding the national standards for pollutants for arable land. The main pollutants are cadmium, nickel and arsenic. This data comes as a result of 100,000 different samples taken over a seven year period. 7 out of 10 samples were discovered to be “Lightly Polluted” with 7% being extremely polluted. This pollution tends to lie on the eastern coast of China, also home to large numbers of factories and various industry.
The China report was supposed to be kept top secret but word has quickly started to spread. Chinese air pollution issues have made worldwide headlines in the past, especially as the country prepared for the Olympics. Soil pollution, which is not visible, is expected to be an even bigger issue than both water and air pollution because it affects the country's critical agriculture and its ability to feed itself. In the United States there are much stricter guidelines for companies in the waste management industry--from landfill operators, recycling centers, and Dumpster rental companies that operate under strict supervision. The next step to rectifying this issue is withdrawing farmland that is heavily polluted by heavy metals and to identify ways to treat increases in cancer rates that are rising due to the amount of pollution from industrial plants. You may be seeing more and more residents in China wearing facemasks. Perhaps the next big industry?