Kina planerar åtgärder för förorenade markområden
Kina planerar åtgärder för ca 2,7 biljoner Yuan för att åtgärda förorenade områden.
Kinas State Council (synonymt både med Kinas regering och med statsapparaten) släppte den 31 maj i år en plan för att åtgärda landets förorenade områden. Planen syfte är att förebygga och sanera markföroreningar i ett försök att förbättra landets förorenade markområden till 2030. Under ledning av landets miljöskyddsministerium ska undersökningar utföras vart tionde år för att undersöka den övergripande föroreningssituationen. Ett rikstäckande nätverk för miljöövervakning planeras inrättas senast 2020, dessutom kommer data från andra sektorer användas för att upprätta databaser över föroreningssituationen. Senast 2020 ska även ny lagstiftning finnas på plats för att förebygga och avhjälpa föroreningar. Förslaget har dock redan mött viss kritik då det av vissa anses sakna finansiering.
The State Council of the People’s Republic of China: Efforts to prevent and remedy soil pollution
On May 31, the State Council issued a plan regarding prevention and remediation of soil pollution in a bid to comprehensively improve the nation’s soil quality by the mid-21st century. Currently, soil quality across the country is seeing many problems and soil pollution in some regions is serious.
To get a clear understanding of the national condition of soil quality, a further survey will be carried out and a nationwide monitoring network will be set up, according to the State Council. Led by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the once-in-a-decade survey, which involves other ministries and local governments, will monitor overall soil quality. A nationwide soil quality monitoring network will be established to monitor all regions across the country by 2020. In addition, data from the ministries of environmental protection, land and resources, and agriculture will be used to establish a database. Mobile internet and the Internet of Things will be utilized to realize real-time data upgrades. To prevent soil pollution, legislative efforts also will be taken, as laws and regulation systems concerning soil pollution prevention and remediation will be established by 2020.
Soil for agricultural purposes is categorized into three types to preserve the safety of agricultural products. According to the plan, non-and-slightly-polluted soil will receive priority of protection; mildly-and-moderately polluted soil will be ranked as safely usable and seriously-polluted soil will be under strict management. Efforts will also be made to prevent overuse of agricultural fertilizers and pesticides that could endanger soil quality and soil contamination by industrial and mining sectors.
Caixin: China’s tainted soil initiative lacks pay plan
Some 19.4 percent of China’s farmland – an estimated 26 million hectares – is said to be dangerously tainted, according to a 2014 report by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Some 10 percent of woodlands nationwide and 10.4 percent of all grassland were reportedly to have high levels of contaminants. The action plan’s goal is to decontaminate 90 percent of the nation’s polluted farmland and industrial sites by 2020. Furthermore, the government wants 95 percent of all polluted land made safe by 2030.
According to a 2006-2011 soil pollution survey whose findings were released in 2014, unacceptable contamination of one kind or another was detected in about 16 percent of all soil samples gathered from around the country. The same survey indicated up to 19.4 percent of all cultivated land had been polluted.
But the new plan lacks a budget schedule. Without explaining how, it simply declares that “remediation costs should be paid by polluters,” said Zhang Yi, director of the Shanghai Environmental Sanitation Engineering Design Institute.
No one doubts the price tag will be huge. An April report by Nanjing-based Huaitai Securities said soil remediation projects on the agenda for the next five years around the country will cost up to 590 billion yuan. And that’s just a fraction of the estimated 7.4 trillion yuan that will be needed to fully restore all of China’s polluted land, the report said.
Lan Hong, an environmental studies professor at Renmin University in Beijing, estimates China will have to spend at least 6 trillion yuan to replenish tainted farmland to the point where crops can be grown and livestock raised safely once again.
But the central government appears unprepared to foot the bill. Beijing allocated only 9 billion yuan for soil remediation projects in 2016 which, although it was a hefty 146 percent more than the previous year, fell far short of the amount experts say is needed.
The United States spends about US$ 15 billion a year on soil remediation through its nearly 36-year-old Superfund cleanup project overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The U.S. experience underscores the importance of follow-up, year-after-year capital commitments for a major, nationwide soil cleanup program, said Ma Jun, chief engineer for cleanup specialist Beijing Construction Environmental Remediation Co.
“The follow-up demand for capital is huge,” said Ma. But who will pay China’s bill?
Yi noted that the “polluter pay” rule makes sense for China but may be impractical, since it’s often hard to track down a guilty party and even more difficult to squeeze a polluter for cleanup funds.
According to Dong, local governments have traditionally accepted cleanup costs rather than force polluting companies to accept responsibility. Governments justify this spending as a way to maintain social stability and support local employers.
Dong said a local government should indeed play a leading role in financing soil remediation, at least in a project’s early stages. But other, sustainable funding sources should also be tapped.