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China working on law to tackle soil pollution

Xinhua, March 11, 2016 Adjust font size:

Deputy Director of the National People's Congress (NPC) Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee Yuan Si answers questions during a press conference about legislation progress on the sidelines of the fourth session of China's 12th NPC in Beijing, capital of China, March 10, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua/Li Xin] 

A senior lawmaker said on Thursday that China is working on a law to tackle a "grave situation in the soil environment," which will join existing laws on air and water quality to fight rampant pollution.

The draft of the law on soil pollution prevention will be presented to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) for deliberation in 2017, Yuan Si, vice chairman of the Environment Protection and Resources Conservation Committee (EPRCC) of the NPC Standing Committee, said at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing NPC annual session.

He said the country is in urgent need of a specific law on soil pollution because the lack of such a law undermines efforts by the government to deal with soil pollution, which is grave in parts of the country and threatens food and water safety.

Yuan said, the law on soil pollution prevention will stipulate the division of duties between government agencies, the establishment of a surveying and monitoring system, and increased funding, among other things.

He said the EPRCC has been preparing for drafting of the law since 2013 after conducting surveys and holding meetings.

China "declared war" on pollution in 2014. After decades of pursuing growth at the expense of air, water and soil quality, pollution emerged as one of the top concerns of people, particularly those living in big, industrial cities.