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Waste to Land: China’s Polluted Soils Pose Health Risk

A tenth of China’s arable land is polluted with heavy metals and other toxins, with the pollution contaminating food crops, the country’s environment agency has said.

Ten million hectares of China’s total arable land has been damaged by pollution from sewage, waste, scrap metal and acid rain, with serious consequences for health and ecology, officials told Xinhua state news agency.

Heavy metals are taken up by cereals and other food crops from the soil with around 12m tonnes of grain contaminated each year, the said. China’s State Environmental Protection Agency resulting losses are estimated at 20bn yuan, or $2.5bn.

The agency called for more “grass-roots montoring” in rural areas of China to curb polluting activity such as fly-tipping and unauthorized sewage discharges, in the absence of sufficient environmental monitoring staff.

China’s polluted soils pose health risk

The Waster says: Maybe the UK is right to be ultra careful about spreading processed organic waste residues to land. MBT processed composts tend to exhibit high metals contents. Comments welcome!

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