MEP & MLR: First Nationwide Soil Pollution Survey Published

by China Water Risk 25 April, 2014

17 April 2014 – Results of the first nationwide survey on soil pollution, previously considered a “state secret” was released to the public by the MEP.  The survey was conducted between April 2005 and December 2013 by the MEP and MLR. Several experts and officials have warned that the numbers could be on the “conservative” side.

Headline findings are as follows:

  • Of the total 6.3 million km2 land area surveyed which included farmland, forest land, grassland, unused land and construction land, 16.1 % was found to be polluted. The percentages of the categories of land surveyed that was found to be polluted was as follows:
    • 19.4% of arable land;
    • 10.0% of forest land;
    • 10.4% of grassland; and
    • 11.4% of unused land
  •  82.8% of the contaminated soil samples was found with toxic inorganic pollutants including cadmium, mercury, arsenic, chromium & lead

Section of China Dialogue's Soil Inforgraphic

The survey also noted that cadmium in soil has risen faster in the southwest & coastal areas of China: up by >50% compared to other areas where it has risien by 40% since the late 1980’s.

For the survey click here (chinese only)

See our opinions here

Health implications of these results are outlined in the infographic to the left (click here for the full infographic by china dialogue).