According to the latest research, 21.49 percent of monitoring stations in grain production regions of China have an excessive amount of heavy metal in their soil. The study was conducted by the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Though the pollution is classified as medium in a global context, the problem should not be underestimated and has increased by 2 percentage points when compared to 2014 data. Official statistics show that every year 12 million tons of grain is affected by heavy metal pollution which is potentially harmful to health.
Soil pollution is the result of urbanization, with those living in cities willing to pay a higher price for organic vegetables, free of pesticide and chemical fertilizers. They are paying an inflated price for the negative impacts brought by urbanization.
Areas with the most serious soil pollution are primarily industrial cities and areas between cities and rural areas where industrial waste is discharged.
The effects of soil pollution may not be evident for decades. Therefore, if enterprises continue to pursue economic benefits without paying attention to ecological protection, the environment will ultimately suffer.
Strict law enforcement and punishment are also necessary. No leniency should be given to enterprises pursuing economic benefits at the cost of the environment, and relevant government officials should be held accountable for soil pollution.
A long-term perspective should be adopted to attach more importance to soil pollution prevention and treatment to improve soil quality.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Guangming Daily on October 30)