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Posts Tagged ‘CADMIUM’

How Your World Continued Shrinking

Posted by feww on April 18, 2014


Trinity of Death: Contaminated Soil, Smog and Polluted Water

Fifth of the farming land in China is contaminated, according to a joint report issued by the country’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land and Resources.

The report, based on  surveys  conducted between April 2005 and December 2013, found 16.1 percent of the land including 19.4 percent of the farmland in the Chinese mainland contaminated with heavy metals.

Nearly 83 percent of the polluted land is contaminated with cadmium, nickel and arsenic.

[Note: Based on the data available, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies cadmium, nickel and arsenic and their compounds as “carcinogenic to humans.”]

“The general condition of the land is ‘not optimistic’ as the quality of farming land is worrying and deserted industrial and mining land suffers serious pollution,” said Xinhua citing the report.

The levels of cadmium contamination rose by 50 percent in southwestern and coastal regions and 10 to 40 percent in other parts of China between 1986 and 1990, said the report.

Dabaoshan Mine
File photo shows low-lying land near the Dabaoshan Mine heavily polluted with waste metals. Soil pollution has severely worsened in Guangdong province, home to more than 3,000 mines, since 2008, according to the Guangdong Institute of Eco-environment and Soil Sciences. A survey conducted by the institute found that  40 percent of the soil throughout the province were tainted with heavy metals. [Source: China Daily]

Dangerous levels of cadmium were detected in rice produced in central China’s Hunan Province, the country’s top rice-growing region, which caused a public outcry last year.

“Heavy metal pollution alone has resulted in the loss of 10 million tonnes of grain and the contamination of another 12 million tonnes annually, incurring 20 billion yuan (3.17 billion U.S. dollars) in direct economic losses each year,” said the report citing official estimates.

“The main pollution source is human industrial and agricultural activities,” the report said. Collection, storage, transfer and disposal of dangerous waste are currently unregulated.

“Compared with air and water pollution, soil pollution is more difficult to control and remedy, taking a much longer time and needing more resources,” a researcher at Chinese Academy of Sciences told Xinhua.

The report cites the Dabaoshan coal mine in Shaoguan City in Guangdong, as an example.  Since the 1970s, untreated coal residue and wastewater from the mine  has contaminated the soil in the surrounding region up to 44 times above the national limit.

“Known to produce some 6,000 tons of copper and 850,000 tons of iron ore annually, the mine has produced a growing amount of sludge and wastewater that has contaminated some 585 hectares along the lower sections of the Hengshui River running atop the mountain,” said China Daily.

At least 250 cancer-related deaths associated with soil pollution were recorded in Shangbai village, located downstream of the Dabaoshan mine, between 1987 and 2009.

In 1990, a farmland area of 0.06 hectares near Dabaoshan Mine could yield about 350 kilograms of rice, but by 2010 it could only grow less than 100kg due to heavy soil pollution, said Li Deng’e, a despondent 74-year-old villager, who sprays ever-increasing amounts of pesticides on her land to slow down the daily erosion, reported China Daily.

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