Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 4/6


Bosshard said in the comment, “According to the BBC, at least 10% of all Chinese land is contaminated with heavy metals, which are not rendered inert by boiling. Thus, boiling water in China does no good when these elements are present.”

I question who reported that China’s contaminated land was 10% of all the land or just the farmland that is irrigated. Often, the way a story about China is reported, may taint the public’s opinions.

Tree reported on this topic and says, “Though no doubt much is lost in translation, this story just out of China, carried by AFP and other outlets, asserts that, “About 10 percent of China’s farmland contains excessive levels of heavy metals due to contaminated water and poisonous waste seeping into the soil, state media said Monday, citing a government survey.

“Accuracy of the 10% assessment is probably quite low; but, point taken. I doubt it possible for consumer product factory emissions to have created a situation where 10% of the land surface was evenly contaminated by heavy metals. A very different interpretation makes more intuitive sense.

“It’s Coal.

“Lead mercury and cadmium are commonly found in coal, and Chinese coal is notoriously heavily laced with toxic metals.”

So, the answer to my question was that this was reported by China’s state media and then the Western media ran with the story until Bosshard says that 10% of all of China’s land was contaminated when it fact it was only 10% of the farmland.

If you watch this video, you will discover that water pollution is no secret in China.

Then the next question I have is where is most of this pollution taking place.  Well, the CIA Factbook says China’s land area covers 9,569,901 square km. Arable land covers 14.86% of that and permanent crops are on 1.27% of the land. Irrigated land covers 641,410 sq km.

For ‘Environment – current issues’, the CIA says, “air pollution (greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide particulates) from reliance on coal produces acid rain; water shortages, particularly in the north; water pollution from untreated wastes; deforestation; estimated loss of one-fifth of agricultural land since 1949 to soil erosion and economic development; desertification…”

What is China doing about ground water pollution control? So far, only the United States and Europe are working on this challenge. However, according to the CCP, China is joining the battle to clean up contaminated ground water.

On November 8, 2011, the Ministry of Water Resources of the People’s Republic of China  made public that “China has introduced the country’s first national plan on groundwater pollution control, urging a combination of legal, economic, technological and administrative measures for groundwater protection.”

“The ministries of environmental protection, land and resources, and water resources announced Friday at a press conference that the State Council, or China’s Cabinet, has already approved the national plan on groundwater pollution control for 2011-2020.

“China will invest a total of 34.66 billion yuan (around 5.48 billion U.S. dollars) on the prevention and treatment of pollution in the country’s groundwater in 2011-2020, according to the plan.

“The money will go to six categories of projects, including survey, prevention, remediation of groundwater pollution, control of pollution in underground drinking water sources, agriculture-related groundwater pollution control, and underground water environment monitoring capacity building.

“Currently, municipal sewage, household garbage, industrial wastes and seepages of fertilizers and pesticides have caused glaring pollution to groundwater in some parts of China, seriously affecting economic production and people’s lives, according to ministry officials at the conference.”

That doesn’t sound like some sort of dirty CCP secret to me. The reason the Western media knows about China’s ground water contamination, is because China announced it. The China Daily also reported this story October 29, 2011.

However, public knowledge of ground water contamination in China goes back twenty years. In addition, “According to a scientific sampling, 150 million mi (100,000 square kilometers) of China’s cultivated land have been polluted, with contaminated water being used to irrigate a further 32.5 million mi (21,670 square kilometers) and another 2 million mi (1,300 square kilometers) covered or destroyed by solid waste. In total, the area accounts for one-tenth of China’s cultivatable land, and is mostly in economically developed areas.” Source: Wikipedia – Soil Contamination

Zhou Shengxian, director of State Environmental Protection Administration, announced on July 2006, “It is estimated that nationwide 12 million tons of grain are polluted each year by heavy metals that have found their way into soil. Direct economic losses exceed 20 billion yuan (about 2.5 billion U.S. dollars). Soil pollution has worsened. According to incomplete statistics, about 150 million mu (10 million hectares) of arable land in China has been polluted.”

In addition, China has joined with Alterra to coordinate a major national multidisciplinary programme to map and contain the environmental risks in the Yangtze delta and the Pearl River delta… The goal of this collaborative project is to link together the various projects and enhance the scientific input. Joint research is being conducted into the use of crops to reduce the risks posed by areas of land contaminated with heavy metals.”

The partners in this project are:

  • Soil Science Centre, Soil Chemistry and Nature team, Alterra (coordination)
  • Soil Quality chair section, Environmental Sciences Department, Wageningen University
  • Institute of Soil Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISSCAS), Nanjing, China
  • Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic (informal participation with own national budgets)

Bosshard was wrong when he claimed there was deceit here.


This comment was originally posted at Discovering Intellectual Dishonesty – Part 6 on January 31 at 23:34 by an anonymous reader called Bosshard.

Deceit upon deceit?

Dear author, what we find most annoying in the behavior of others are those same behaviors of which we are equally guilty. You appear to dislike: lies, half truths and manipulation.

Regarding water-

You have much to learn.  Boiling water is good for killing bacteria and the like but does nothing to stave off the ill effects of heavy metals like copper, lead and the like. According to the BBC, at least 10% of all Chinese land is contaminated with heavy metals, which are not rendered inert by boiling. Thus, boiling water in China does no good when these elements are present.

When you made your comment, were you engaging in ““willful deception and a refusal to play by the rules?” when you state that boiling Chinese water is an anti-dote?

And an aside, do you personally drink the same water as the folks in Guizhou or Gansu, or do you purchase bottled water, a thing many of them cannot do?

As for your forgone conclusion that the need for water is greater than that of religion, I would disagree. Freedom of religion is paramount to many souls, just ask the Tibetans who will take their own lives in order to achieve such an end. If I were forced to give up my religion for water, I would not do so.

Please do not pretend to know the mind of the masses when yours may not be as open as you may believe.

This site has much information, but the author, like the Jesuits of old appears to have conjured up a China that he wishes us to believe in. The brutal reality of the communist regime  and havoc it brings to its people can best be understood by reading books like Empire of Lies, The Beijing Consensus, Poorly Made in China, The Party, and a host of others.

I will not return to this comment nor website but would like to offer this question:

If you have lived in China, and all of your readers, then you truly know the truth of this place. And if you truly know the truth of this place, then do you think it’s right to knowingly deceive the people about it?

God bless and keep all His children safe and informed.

Continued on February 17 at Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 5 or return to Part 3


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

Subscribe to “iLook China”
Sign up for an E-mail Subscription at the top of this page.

About iLook China

One Response to Contaminated Water and Soil is a Global Problem – Part 4/6

  1. An update on America’s water and soil pollution

    The New York Times reported this February 10, 2012

    Eleven states sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday over its delays in tightening air quality standards involving soot.
    The states say that soot contributes to respiratory illness and heart disease and causes thousands of premature deaths a year. The states involved in the lawsuit are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.



    Then there was this from the New York Times on January 23, 2012

    The strict new federal standards limiting pollution from power plants are meant to safeguard human health. But they should have an important side benefit, according to a study being released on Tuesday: protecting a broad array of wildlife that has been harmed by mercury emissions.

    Methylmercury, the most toxic form of the heavy metal, was found to be widespread throughout the Northeast — not just in lakes and rivers, as had already been known, but also in forests, on mountaintops and in bogs and marshes that are home to birds long thought to be at minimal risk.

    The new study found dangerously high levels of mercury in several Northeastern bird species, including rusty blackbirds, saltmarsh sparrows and wood thrushes. Previous studies have shown mercury’s effects on loons and other fish-eating waterfowl, as well as bald eagles, panthers and otters. In one study, zebra finches lost the ability to hit high notes in mating songs when mercury levels rose, affecting reproduction.


Comments are welcome — pro or con. However, comments must focus on the topic of the post, be civil and avoid ad hominem attacks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: