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May 9, 2013

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Home » Metro » Environment

City unveils plans to clean up toxic soil

SHANGHAI is launching a long and ambitious campaign to clean up land area around former industrial and chemical sites this year.

The city's environmental protection authority said yesterday that move was necessary to clean up any toxic materials that might remain in the soil.

Wu Qizhou, deputy director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, the body that will lead the cleanup work, said the city government will enforce a new regulation by the end of the year to launch the evaluation and cleanup process.

"The work is essential and urgent because soil pollution can endanger public health and the environment, especially near water sources and farmlands," Wu told the top political advisory body.

All the former locations of chemical plants and factories that made toxic products and waste storage and processing sites can hold heavy metals like chromium, cadmium, lead, mercury and arsenic, as well as dangerous organic substances like benzene.

With economic restructuring, many factories and industrial zones were relocated, but the soil remained polluted.

Wu said Shanghai has large tracts of polluted lands as many of the industries were once based in the city.

"So, it will be a long and complicated campaign requiring lot of labor as well as huge sum of money," he added.

The new regulation moots that companies which once had a presence in the area would have to pay for the evaluation and cleanup along with the future developers of the land.

The bureau will also set up a database for areas where the soil may be polluted but new buildings had been erected.

Tests on the soils will be held after the buildings are demolished again and the lands are put into other uses, he said.

Apart from industrial pollution, many urban areas have been polluted by agriculture and daily wastes after local residents dumped battery and old cell phones, Wu said.

The extensive use of herbicide and insecticide as well as fertilizers also pollute farmland and toxic wastes is absorbed by vegetables and plants.

One of Shanghai's major projects was to cleanup the former factory sites for use for the World Expo 2010.


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