World Bulletin / News Desk
A report has claimed that up to one fifth of farmland in China is contaminated, mainly by the heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic.
After studying China's soil over an eight year period from 2005 to 2013, China's Environmental Protection Ministry and Land and Resources Ministry revealed that 16.1% of the country's soil was contaminated.
However, there are concerns that the findings understate the real degree of contamination, as some samples of food taken from crops were up to a decade old. It is believed newer samples would show more signs of contamination.
Blamed on the uncontrolled and overuse of farm chemicals, the level of contamination has raised a number of health concerns, with certain villages already showing higher rates of cancer than the national average.
Cadmium in particular is known to cause kidney diseases and is easily absorbed by rice. Last year, an investigation revealed that half of rice in the major city of Guangzhou was contaminated with cadmium.
In some cases, diseases may take many years if not decades of develop.
The Chinese authorities had originally been reluctant to release the findings, which raised the level of public concern. Following months of public pressure, the alarming results were finally released.
Calls have been made to conduct soil surveys more frequently.Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2014, 13:42