China Dedicates 2.8 Billion Yuan to Combat Heavy Metal Pollution

July 6th, 2015 by Steve

An article posted by the China Topix states:

China’s Ministry of Information has revealed that the government has allocated about $451 million (2.8 billion yuan) to help some of the country’s most affected cities deal with the effects of heavy metal pollution.

According to Xinhua, the funds will be used to support environmental protection projects in about 30 cities across the country that reported disturbingly high levels of heavy metal pollution in 2014.

Heavy metal pollution is a major problem in China. Last month, China Geological Survey (CGS) released a report revealing that up to one-fifth of the country’s arable farmland – nearly eight million hectares of land – had been rendered unusable by pollution, CRIEnglish reported. A government study on soil pollution conducted in 2014 also revealed that in total about 16 percent of the country’s soil has been polluted. Experts say some of the most polluted parts of the country are in south and central China.

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has revealed that in the first quarter of this year, it received more than 300 complaints from the public. Up to 70 percent of these cases reportedly related to environmental issues and pollution were the most common problem.

Of all the provinces, Henan stood out with the most number of complaints filed with the ministry. The environmental ministry has revealed that about 11 cities in Henan province are part of the cities set to receive funding from the central government to deal with heavy metal pollution.

Another place where the effect of heavy metal pollution is also severe is in Sahecun village in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.  Late last year, local sources carried reports that villagers had been suffering from painful swellings on their bodies due to the pollution of their water supply with cadmium from a nearby lead mine. Some locals, who have become debilitated and unable to work because of their condition, say they continue to use the contaminated water because they have no other option.

According to the ministry, local authorities have taken several steps to control the activities of individuals and companies responsible for pollution, including suspending or shutting down their operations, imposing fines and ordering them to make improvements to their operations. In June, a landmark trial began in China involving about 13 families in a rural Taiwan township, who are accusing a chemical production and metal smelting company of being responsible for high levels of lead in the blood of their children and grandchildren. Experts say the outcome of the case is expected to set a precedent for any similar litigation in the future.

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