BEIJING, April 18 -- Chinese people are helpless and accustomed to frequent severe smog, and this week they suffered another big blow when it comes to the environment they live in.
According to a report released by the government on Thursday, about 16.1 percent of soil and 19.4 percent of farm land in the Chinese mainland is polluted.
Human industrial and agricultural activities are the main source of the pollution, the report said.
Scientists found that soil pollution has already affected people's lives, resulting in excessive residue in agricultural products and contaminating ground water through permeation.
The report is another alarm for the country.
A series of environmental pollution issues have happened in recent years. Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities are often shrouded with heavy smog. Some villages are known as cancer villages, as the incidence of cancer is extremely high in those places due to environmental pollution.
Earlier last week, benzene was found in tap water in Lanzhou, capital city of northwestern Gansu Province, affecting 2.4 million citizens.
Compared with air and water pollution, soil pollution is more difficult to control and remedy, taking a much longer time and needing more resources.
In a bid to address the ever deteriorating environment, China can no longer sacrifice its environmental and ecological system for higher GDP growth. The country should sacrifice some economic development to repair the environment.
There has been more attention on environmental protection in China in recent years. The country has given more weight to environmental protection in evaluating the performance of local governments and officials, and input more resources into it.
At the annual session of the National People's Congress in March, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang "declared war" against pollution and pledged to fight it with the same determination the country battled poverty.
It will be a long process before all Chinese people can breathe clear air, drink clean water, live on free-of-pollution land and eat safe food. The country has to reverse the current situation with determination, and fast.