Volume XVII |

Soil pollution prevention and control measures in China

Abstract: Soil pollution is a major problem in China. This paper de-scribes the policies that the government has undertaken to remedy the situation, by either preventing additional pollution, or reducing the existing pollution levels. First, China is honing the legal framework to protect arable lands, control sources of pollution, and assess, manage and clean up polluted sites. Second, the government has made steps to improve the identification and monitoring of pollution sources. Third, the government has promoted chemical and biological technologies to lower the level of soil pollution. In spite of these efforts, there are still considerable challenges. First, China has considerable economic, social, and environmental diversity, so uniform top-down designed policies are likely to face considerable problems in many areas. Second, the local institutions trusted with the soil pollution cleanup have little understanding about clean soil standards, the right technology for soil inspection and treatment, and the management strategies for vast areas of land. In addition, the costs of cleaning up the land are staggering, with estimates ranging from CNY 6 to 11 trillion, with little potential for cost recovery from soil rehabilitation.