Cure needed for plague of rural pollution

Updated: 2013-05-29 08:03

By Berlin Fang (China Daily)

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Cure needed for plague of rural pollutionEvery time I visit my hometown in the countryside, I am appalled at the amount of pollution I see. Colorful food packaging, plastic bags and batteries litter everywhere. I cannot help thinking how much damage this is doing to the countryside and to the entire country.

I am afraid to say that this sorry state of affairs is the rule rather than the exception, and preventive and remedial actions are urgently needed.

Pollution is an eyesore to say the least, which ruins the otherwise pristine countryside that some of us still remember. This is not just a cosmetic degradation, the countryside is sick with pollution. Unless restored back to health, the disease will spread through society.

It is not just a rural problem, it is a national crisis. Much of the pollution exists near farms where crops and vegetables grow, near rivers where fish swim (if the rivers are not already choked up with the garbage), and near land where cattle roam. Such pollution may end up in food chain and ultimately on the dining tables of those even in cities where people have to rely on food originally produced in the countryside.

Rural China is our common back yard. It may seem to be nobody's responsibility but it is everyone's problem. Food safety is often seen as a moral or regulatory problem, but it is also an environmental issue.

Rural pollution is not getting due attention. It's time that we cared enough about the issue to confront the problem, or we risk getting to the point of no return, when the land can no longer be restored to health.

If curbing such pollution appears on the government's radar, much can be done to improve the situation.

For instance, laws and regulations can be written, and more importantly, strictly enforced, to restrict the use of nonbiodegradable packaging and bags that contribute much to pollution in the countryside. Today, people in the countryside no longer just rely on produce from the land for survival. Rural consumers also consume industrially manufactured products through country stores and marketplaces.

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