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April 2, 2013

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Law to push cleanup of toxic sites

SHANGHAI is expected to enforce laws this year mandating the evaluation and cleanup of urban soils with pollution hazards before the land is put into other uses.

The land where factories once stood and where solid waste was stored and processed is the major target for soil testing and cleanup, experts from Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences said yesterday.

The city is gaining prominence in this area. The academy recently earned approval from the Ministry of Environmental Protection to establish the nation's first soil pollution control and remediation center. The center will study the status of China's urban soil, and work with officials around the country to monitor and clean up urban land and underground water pollution. A city center has been doing similar work locally for eight years.

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

"We established the Shanghai Center for Soil Remediation in 2005 and so far have done over 30 projects," said Luo Qishi, the center's director. "The national center is to study technology of soil remediation on industrial use soil for cities, develop technical equipment, study policies of soil pollution prevention, and monitor and publicize the experience gained in trials."

Experts said the work is essential since high levels of soil pollution can endanger the environment and public health.

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

With economic restructuring, many factories and industrial zones are being relocated, and testing and cleanup grow.


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