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Political advisors target soil pollution control


08:27, June 19, 2013

BEIJING, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese political advisors have urged legislative efforts against soil pollution, calling for an overall shift from GDP obsession to industrial restructuring.

At the ongoing second meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, Qian Guanlin, a senior national political advisor, said, "Soil pollution is covert, long-term and hard to rehabilitate... it threatens national grain safety, people's health and social stability."

China's soil environment has been an issue of concern, and its pollution of plowland is especially worrisome.

Official figures show that about 150 million mu (10 million hectares) of plowland in China has been polluted, or 8.3 percent of the country's total.

Qian noted that south China, eastern metropolis Shanghai and its surrounding areas as well as regions with a long history of industrial construction suffer more from soil pollution.

In a recent case, experts believe soil pollution was the reason behind cadmium-tainted rice produced by three rice mills in central China's Hunan Province in May.

Qian, vice director of the population, resources and environmental committee under the CPPCC National Committee, described frequent soil pollution incidents at a critical point.

Qian called for an eco-oriented evaluation system in various fields and a focus shift from GDP to industrial restructuring and upgrade so as to control industrial pollution from the sources.

Senior national political advisor Wang Quanshu urged extra efforts to seize on pollution in rural areas.

"Governments at all levels should incorporate the progress of environmental protection into the work evaluation of rural officials while including spending on eco-protection into local budgets and increasing the proportion steadily," Wang said.

Wang called for legislation on environmental protection in rural areas.

Echoing Wang's call, political advisor Li Wei revealed that the current legislation on the prevention of soil pollution "has lagged far behind," and the punishment for industrial violations was not severe enough.

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