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Toxic Soil Threatens Urban Areas

Cases of acute poisoning caused by hazardous pollutants at construction sites have been exposed several times since 2004. However, untreated toxic soil has also been quietly threatening people's health and lives without the knowledge of residents or even the government in many cases. The extent of the harm these toxic substances do to the human body often takes years or even decades to become apparent. Reports of toxic soil have emerged in a number of cases, but little information has been disclosed, and the debate has been limited to internal discussions among experts and closed-door decision-making.

Facing this new pollution problem, Chinese law lacks both mandatory soil pollution assessment procedures prior to relocation as well as post-incident accountability mechanisms, which often results in authorities dealing with problems “case-by-case” as they arise.

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