News & AnalysisEnvironmental Science

China Gets Serious About Its Pollutant-Laden Soil

Science  28 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6178, pp. 1415-1416
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6178.1415

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Summary

A recent national survey found that 2.5% of China's arable land is too contaminated to grow food safely. The survey's details were so alarming that they were declared a "state secret." Now, the central government appears eager to tackle the problem; China's latest 5-year plan singles out five industries as egregious soil polluters and sets a target to reduce, by 2015, discharges of heavy metals by 15% from 2007 levels.