Findings likely to indicate densely populated areas more affected From China Daily
The central government plans to conduct a nationwide soil pollution survey, according to the Ministry of Land and Resources.
Soil samples will be collected at different depths to find the natural condition of the soil and the impact human activity has had on it, the ministry said on Wednesday.
Samples taken at deep and shallow levels will show how chemical elements have affected the soil.
The ministry did not say when the survey results will be released. It said previous investigations indicate that some regions are heavily polluted, particularly near the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
Comparing the investigation results with surveys in 1994 and 1995 will indicate that soil pollution is spreading to China’s more densely populated eastern areas, the ministry said.
The public has asked authorities to issue soil pollution data, as well as detailed measures on handling the problem, following food safety scandals caused by soil pollution.
Cadmium-tainted rice and rice products were also found in two university cafeterias and two restaurants, although no reports of poisoning were received. Cadmium is a carcinogenic heavy metal that could induce multiple organ damage.
Three rice mills in neighboring Hunan province were investigated for selling the contaminated rice, and authorities in Guangdong ordered rice retailers to recall thousands of kilograms of tainted rice.
Investigations showed the three rice mills were operating legally with all the required certificates, according to the local government.
Although the source of the pollutants has not yet been found, experts believe the soil in some rice-producing areas has been contaminated by heavy metals.
A sample test of rice collected from 10 cities in Guangdong province since April showed 120 batches contained excessive levels of cadmium, with some batches containing six times more cadmium than allowed.
Hou Yanlin, a Ministry of Agriculture soil scientist, said the government should establish a monitoring and early warning system for soil contamination to enable it to assess how severe and widespread the pollution is.
Official disclosure of information on soil pollution is lacking in China. Statistics from the Ministry of Environmental Protection released in 2011 show 10 million hectares of farmland, or 8.3 percent of arable land in the country, were polluted.
Farmland in some prosperous coastal regions and industrial areas on higher ground were more seriously polluted.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said a national survey on soil pollution had been completed, but the results have not been published.
Zheng Fengtian, a professor at Renmin University of China, said that authorities should publish information on soil pollution regularly so the public is well informed.
Xinhua contributed to this story.
During Expo, Shanghai skies became blue – proving change ‘is’ possible!
“Everyone breathing should act, said the State Council, which just hit the point of all environmental issues in China. ” China Daily
The State Council, or China’s cabinet, adopted a set of concrete measures to counter air pollution on Friday, demonstrating not only resolve but also action to cope with environmental issues. CHINA DAILY reports
China’s leadership has repeatedly promised all-out efforts to conserve resources and curb pollution.
The key report at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last November put promoting ecological progress as a long-term task of vital importance to the people’s wellbeing and China’s future.
At a study session with members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in late May, President Xi Jinping also pledged that China will not sacrifice the environment for temporary economic growth.
The State Council’s latest policies of reducing air pollution can be regarded as an implementation of the principles.
They also showed that the government has a clear understanding of the nature of environmental issues in China.
As the State Council statement said on Friday, reducing air pollution is about people’s welfare and the country’s economic future.
On one hand, smog is visible and affects the life of everyone, rich and poor. It has proven that environmental crises can stir controversy and greatly undermine social stability.
On the other hand, it is closely related to transforming the economic growth pattern and promoting urbanization, the two most important issues in government work.
The country’s biggest environmental issues are linked to its fast but extensive economic development.
There will be one answer to two questions if the country finds the way to realize an eco-friendly and sustainable growth.
Friday’s policies are largely about restraining energy-consuming and polluting industries, transforming energy structure and harsher punishment on polluters. But it also included efforts to enhance legislation, transparency of environmental information, government efficiency and coordination of governments at different levels.
These are as important as direct environmental policies, if not more important.
According to the State Council, provincial governments will be assessed on their performance in reducing air pollution, and smog will be considered a public emergency to which local governments have to respond.
Environmental issues need comprehensive efforts from all sectors, particularly local governments. Their initiative is the vital for implementing the policies and supervising enterprises. Friday’s policies urged them to act.
Everyone breathing should act, said the State Council, which just hit the point of all environmental issues in China.
Compiled by NAEEUK cochair Henricus Peters
The Netherlands is opposed to the European Union’s decision to slap provisional anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar panels, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans said on Tuesday. From China Daily
Timmermans made the remarks during the talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing.
“The European Commission’s decision to impose provisional duties on solar panels from China goes against the principle of free trade and the Netherlands is firmly opposed to it,” said the visiting Dutch foreign minister, quoted by a news release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
On Monday, Timmermans told reporters that the Dutch government, like the German government, truly believes that there should be no confrontation between the EU and China on the issue of solar panels.
“I think we should come and find a compromise here. We have been urging the European Commission to try carefully here. There are more things at stake than just one issue in the long-term relationship between the EU and China,” he said on Monday shortly before his departure to China.
During Tuesday’s talks, Wang said he appreciates the Dutch government’s stance and hopes that the Netherlands will continue working for dialogue between the EU and China on the matter.
Timmermans also congratulated the Chinese side on the successful launch of the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft on Tuesday, adding that the Netherlands is ready to boost cooperation with China in various areas, especially on sustainable development, to forge a future-oriented relationship between the two countries.
Hailing the smooth development of the bilateral ties in recent years, Wang said China looks forward to a more matured and stable relationship with the Netherlands based on mutual respect and win-win reciprocity, and new achievements of cooperation in urbanization, energy saving and environmental protection, new energy and other areas.
After the talks, the two foreign ministers exchanged diplomatic notes regarding the establishment of consulates in China’s Chongqing and the Netherlands’ Willemstad.
Good news for wildlife; not-so-good news for local Chinese people … Can we ‘ever’ live in harmony?? The Guardian reports
Villagers in rural Hunchun have mixed feelings about initiative’s initial success in boosting population of endangered big cat….
Decades of poaching and logging have ravaged the population of the big cat, also known as Amur tigers– only about 500 still live in the wild worldwide. In 2010, Chinese authorities launched an initiative to boost numbers in the Hunchun National Siberian Tiger Nature Reserve near the country’s border with Russia and North Korea.
The scheme has shown promising results – the State Forestry Administration announced on Tuesday that China’s wild Siberian tiger population has increased from 12 just over a decade ago to 22, according to the state newswire Xinhua. Officials hope the number will reach 40 within a decade.
Yet residents of Xigou village, part of the county-level city of Hunchun, have mixed feelings about the increase, Xinhua reported on Friday.
Wang Zenxiang recounted a close encounter late in March, saying: “After hearing some noise, I thought it was my cattle coming back home. However, when I opened the door to my backyard and turned on a flashlight, I felt my breath disappear – it was a tiger.” Tigers had attacked his cattle shortly afterwards, despite the fence he had erected to keep them out, he told Xinhua.
Although the tigers have not yet physically harmed any locals, two villagers said they had a narrow escape last week while looking missing cattle.
“To minimise local residents’ losses and prevent public backlash, Hunchun border police started a campaign on Monday to educate locals about first aid and emergency response methods in the event of a wild tiger attack,” Xinhua said.
The growing number of “human-tiger conflicts” may also pose dangers for the big cats as well. “Eating livestock may cause the tigers to become more domesticated and ruin their relationship with local residents,” Lang Jianmin, and official at the reserve, said. “If one of them eats sickened livestock, the entire species could be harmed.”
The World Wildlife Fund, which has worked with the Chinese government on the initiative, recently cited a park ranger’s discovery of a deer carcass as further evidence that the area’s wild tiger population is on the rise.
China’s recent relationship with Siberian tigers has not been entirely positive. Pictures of tourists sitting on top of a strapped-down cub at a “tiger park” in Jilin province went viral on Chinese social networking sites earlier this month. The park promptly terminated its contract with an “on-site animal circus” which took responsibility for the incident, Chinese media reported.
Li Ganjie, vice-minister of environmental protection, announced the figure at a celebration ofthe 2013 International Day for Biological Diversity on Wednesday.
Swans and tens of thousands of rare migrant birds spend the winter in Poyang Lake Nature Reserve inYongxiu county, Jiangxi province. China has established 286 national nature reserves in the past 20years. Duan Changzheng / for China Daily
The figure has grown from 6.9 percent in 1993 to 14.9 percent today. The number of national-level nature reserves has increased from 77 to 363, marking the achievements the Chinesegovernment has made to promote biodiversity since the country signed the United NationsConvention on Biological Diversity 20 years ago.
“Setting up nature reserves is seen as the core measure in biodiversity conservation to preventthe current loss of species and habitats,” said Zhang Shigang, country coordinator of theUnited Nations Environment Program China.
That’s why the theme of the 2013 International Day for Biodiversity in China is ”biodiversity andnature reserves”, while the international theme is ”water and biodiversity”.
“The United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment indicates that in the past 50 years, 60percent of the world’s ecosystems have been degraded. Loss of biodiversity reduces our food,medicine, clean air and water. The ecosystem that human beings rely on is fragile,” said ZhangXinsheng, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Council.
“China has very rich biodiversity of its own,” he said. “The 2012 IUCN Red List cites over 5,000plant and animal species living in China, and of those nearly 1,000 species are under threat.”
Patrick Haverman, deputy country director of the United Nations Development Program China,said the natural capital of biodiversity has been greatly overused during the country’s pursuit ofeconomic development, and if China’s development is to be sustainable in the long term, itmust conserve biodiversity as its ecological base.
“The challenge both in China and globally is in harmonizing economic growth with thepreservation of the integrity of natural capital. More particularly in China, the challenge is toreconcile the conservation of this country’s rich ecosystems with the demands of development,which has already lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty,” Haverman said.
He said the UNDP appreciates and supports the significant efforts for biodiversity conservationundertaken in recent years by the Chinese government.
The government has given conservation of biodiversity high priority, according to Vice-MinisterLi.
The China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for 2011-2030,released in September 2010, set guidelines for the country’s efforts to protect biodiversity overthe next 20 years.
- Elusive pandas caught on camera in China habitat (science.nbcnews.com)
- Photos offer rare glimpse into panda habitat (wwf.panda.org)
- Heartbreaking – we must all act, now! (alvecotewood.wordpress.com)
- Strike a pose: World’s rarest animals are caught on hidden camera exploring their habitats (dailymail.co.uk)
- Developers can build on nature reserves – if they ‘offset’ the damage elsewhere, says Government review (telegraph.co.uk)
- Cities are a ray of hope on biodiversity front (thehindu.com)