China lacks dedicated legislation in this area, and officials are under pressure to reduce the risk of contaminated crops entering the food chain.
Farming on 3.3m hectares of affected land has already been banned indefinitely and the country has suffered repeated farming scandals, especially concerning the contamination of rice with heavy metals such as lead and cadmium.
“Looking at the results of soil pollution surveys from relevant departments of the State Council, our country’s soil pollution situation is generally speaking serious and it’s not easy to be optimistic,” said Yuan Si, deputy head of the National People’s Congress environmental protection and resources conservation committee.
“The basis for our country’s soil pollution prevention work is weak,” Yuan said, adding that officials currently lack any legal basis for supervising pastoral land.
While China already has air and water pollution legislation, a law governing soil pollution be only be put on the legislative agenda next year after the drafting process began in 2013.
It will stipulate the division of duties between government agencies, the establishment of a surveying and monitoring system, and increased funding, Yuan said.