Laudable step to address soil pollution - ENVIRONMENT - Humanrights

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Laudable step to address soil pollution
November 10,2016   By:China Daily
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Nov. 10, 2106 -- A corner of the affordable-housing project in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, which was found to have been built on the site of a previous chemical plant. (Sun Xinming / for China Daily)
 
Nov. 10, 2106 -- Amid rising concerns about soil pollution across the country, the Ministry of Environmental Protection recently released a draft regulation on managing polluted land and soil for public opinions. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Wednesday:
 
The ministry's draft plan on the protection of land and soil, which ranges from environmental investigation to risk assessment and management, released a clear signal that curbing soil pollution and treating polluted land is now a priority.
 
According to a report issued by the Ministry of Land and Resources in 2014, China faces severe land pollution and soil degradation, and about 16.1 percent of its soil contains excessive amounts of pollutants.
 
The draft not only clarifies responsibilities, it also urges timely disclosure of relevant information via websites or media outlets for public perusal. It is a laudable step toward efficient governance and transparent information disclosure.
 
Assessing soil pollution and the data collected has been highly confidential in the past and was withheld from the public in most cases. The environmental protection ministry's new draft plan heralds a significant change as it will mean an increasing number of these so-called national secrets will be made public.
 
However, it remains unclear which parties will be considered as "directly involved" in releasing such information.
 
People deserve to know more about what lies beneath their feet, not only to protect their health but also to prompt them to avoid further worsening the already severe soil pollution: Their awareness matters and their participation in curbing soil contamination even more so.
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