More strict soil pollution prevention measures are about to become a major part
of the PRC’s environmental policies. According to a national soil survey from 2014,
16.1% of the land is polluted. With 19.4%, the figure of contaminated farm land is even
higher. China’s soil is mainly polluted by heavy metals like cadmium, arsenic and cooper
which are leached out of open mines, industries and agriculture activities (e.g. use of
fertilizer). Despite the importance of soil pollution, China’s challenging soil conditions
have not led, in contrast to air and water pollution, to any major popular outrage. The
health and environment related consequences of soil contamination are not as visible as
air and water pollution.
Two new sets of soil pollution standards were released by the Ministry of Environmental
Protection in January 2015 in order to enhance the standards for soil pollution and remediation.
The new Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping is willing to face this challenge and prioritizes
soil pollution prevention in its new 13th Five-Year-Plan (2016-2020).
Comparatively speaking, soil environmental management in China is still in its infant period,
and legislation, standards and industry regulatory system are yet to be improved, with more
studies and international experience to be made and drawn on.
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building
and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) the Sino-German Environmental Partnership project supports the
Chinese Ministry of Environment Protection (MEP) and CCICED in their endeavors to implement
methods to prevent soil pollution in the upcoming 13th Five-Year-Plan more efficiently,
respectively, to reduce the harmful effects of heavy metal pollution soil and water quality.
Concrete activities include among other things:
The project provides additional international expertise to the CCICED Special Policy Study
on Legislation/Regulations and Incentive Mechanism for Soil Environmental Management in China.
Furthermore, experts from MEP and related institutions are advised on European and German
– EU’s Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection, Soil Framework Directive and
Industrial Emissions Directive (IED).
– Remediation technologies and case studies
– Cooperation between the Soil Protection Authority and the responsible parties (polluter, ground owner);
– Establishment of an inventory and its importance for the planning procedures and urban development