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China Earth Medicine Technology

One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted With Heavy Metals 412

Posted by samzenpus
from the progress-marches-on dept.
eldavojohn writes "A report form China's Environmental Ministry reveals that one tenth of China's 1.22 million square kilometers of farmland are polluted with heavy metals and other toxins. The AFP lists 'lead, mercury and cancer-causing cadmium' and points to the rapid pace of China's industrialization as well as factories and their operators flouting regulations and laws. Cheap batteries and lead refineries are slowly turning China into a land where whole villages are poisoned (11 incidents so far this year). According to Human Rights Watch the government's response to this scourge is laughable. The poisoned are denied treatment and China's Environmental Ministry offers no possible help: 'The report documents how local authorities in contaminated areas have imposed arbitrary limits on access to blood lead testing, for example by permitting only people living within a small radius of a factory to be tested. When tests are conducted, results have often been contradictory or have been withheld from victims and their families. And children with elevated blood lead levels who require treatment according to national guidelines have been denied care or told simply to eat certain foods, including apples, garlic, milk, and eggs.'"
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One Tenth of China's Farmland Polluted With Heavy Metals

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  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:32PM (#37974196)

    This sort of thing combined with Chinaâ(TM)s very questionable use of banned pesticides and other sketchy farming chemicals is why I do not by food products marked as being from China. I know that many of the other âoeready madeâ food that I eat probably has ingredients from China, but at least I can reduce the amount of poisons I intake. I try to buy local produce, organic when I can, but this tends to be a little spendy. And of course avoiding processed foods and actually making real food in the kitchen goes a long way to avoid the poisonous crap that China exports.

    Of course, there are some of the same issues here, but far far fewer.

    Without the kind of government regulation that the Republicans and Tea Baggers want to do away with, this is how the United States would be as well.

  • by rubycodez (864176) on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:37PM (#37974276)
    Your comment about regulation is nonsense, there is too much importation from China to inspect and regulate, it's impossible. And note we've already had numerous instances of food poisoning and heavy metal contamination in consumer products (found long after the fact of their being let in).

    I'd suggest a more sensible approach, don't do business with China at all. Let their system collapse. If the dollar devalues and forces us to become more self-sufficient, that's a good thing that will dramatically increase employment and internal economy.
  • Unions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:39PM (#37974318)

    Look for Chinese labor movements. The Poles were able to do it in the face of oppression. Maybe the Chinese can also.

    And to think some working men think unions are a bad thing.

  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:41PM (#37974364) Homepage

    China doesn't care what anybody else thinks, we can't realistically threaten to boycott them (what are you reading this on, and where was it made?) and they essentially control the dollar and are making big inroads into the Euro as well.

    This is a domestic Chinese problem, and it will be solved when the people of China decide to deal with their government one way or another. Until then all we can do is wring our hands and cry "Oh, the seething hordes of yellow sort-of-humanity! Oooh, new iPads!"

  • EPA (Score:1, Insightful)

    by radaghast (1672864) on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:47PM (#37974452)

    Meanwhile in the U.S. the EPA must be abolished if we want jobs again. Maybe so if we want more oncologists.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:57PM (#37974608)

    Yep.

    The sort of "Job Killing Regulation" the idiots of the Retardican party have been screaming about this year.

    When they talk about abolishing the EPA, I take one look at what goes on in China, remember that this is what the Republicans want to let happen in the USA, and I know why nobody who loves their kids should EVER vote Retardican.

  • Re:More like China (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zill (1690130) on Monday November 07, 2011 @12:57PM (#37974616)
    The simple solution would be instead of "all goods manufactured in US must obey blah blah blah regulation" we use "all goods sold in US must obey blah blah blah regulation".

    Of course our corporate overlords will never allow this pass to in congress.
  • by Moryath (553296) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:02PM (#37974668)

    Funny thing about that... 20 years ago, Wal-Mart was all about "Buy American."

    Of course, 20 years ago, American manufacturing meant something. Nowadays, you're right, we'd have to find workers to re-fill the factories. Like, say, the 15-20% of workers unemployed today (if you follow Real Unemployment rather than the government's "officially skewed" numbers that lose a lot of people).

    Hey, wait a minute. We could actually employ people in the USA by rebuilding the manufacturing sector. Shocker of shockers... of course, that would require placing tariffs on dumped goods and stringent requirements of quality standards, in order to account for the price discrepancy of Chinese slave labor and complete lack of environmental regulation. Which is the last thing the current group of people running the House want to do, since it would be a popular move and they don't want to share any of the credit with the other side even though it's something probably 90% of the USA can agree to.

  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:08PM (#37974776)
    The view that we need NO government regulation (e.g., get rid entirely of EPA and replace it with nothing) is roughly as stupid as saying that the government can fix anything, we just need to give it the power to do so (which does seem to be a very real viewpoint).
  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:08PM (#37974784)

    They don't have any communism. They have fascism rebranded as communism.

  • by jpapon (1877296) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:13PM (#37974852) Journal

    So, keep your derogatory and misinformed slights about the Tea Party and Republicans out of this, what you are witnessing is the same thing that happened under the Soviets in the 50s through 80s. You are witnessing so much government that it is not answerable to anyone.

    Exactly... when the people can't regulate what the government can do, you get into trouble (as in China, and in the USSR). The same is true of corporations though; when the people can't regulate corporations (through the government) you get into the same sort of trouble.

    The truth is that regulations were put into place for a reason; to protect people and the environment. They were put in place because industry was poisoning the earth... in spite of the "protections" of a free market. Removing regulations may have a positive impact in the short term (may, I have yet to see proof of this), but whatever benefit is far outweighed by the long term negative impact.

  • by tmosley (996283) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:16PM (#37974902)
    "Don't do business with China" is sort of like proposing "don't breathe" as a solution for air pollution.

    Do you have ANY IDEA how reliant we are on their manufacturing base? Do you have ANY IDEA the HELL that would come about in this country if we stopped trade with them? Any whatsoever?

    I'm not just talking about consumer gadgets either. I'm talking chemical feedstocks, electronics, machine components, and much, much more. Are you willing to pull the trigger that starts a trade war that ends with a US with no medicine?
  • by Artraze (600366) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:25PM (#37975038)

    > Without the kind of government regulation that the Republicans and Tea Baggers want to do away
    > with, this is how the United States would be as well.

    There's no nice way of putting this: You are retarded and whoever modded this nonsense "insightful" should be denied mod points indefinitely.

    This comment is nothing but baseless bashing of 'them' without any thought at all. You don't even have a pretense of understanding the Republican or Tea Party (real mature BTW) points. Has it never occurred to you that there's a middle ground between where we are and no regulation at all? Or that one can go about regulation differently? Or, geez, that even if there was _no_ regulation how public outcry from everyone would still provide a good deal of incentive to not do it? Not that I'd rely on that, but still we wouldn't be half as bad as China.

    But of course, because you have no clue what you're talking about you don't get that. Did you know, for example, that China only recently phased out leaded gasoline? And that it's still being produced in rural (e.g. farming) areas? Well, yeah, probably, because I bet your point was that the "Tea Baggers" wanted to bring back leaded gas.
    (and I could go on about why China isn't like the US and how the differences are much more cultural than regulatory, but I made my point.)

  • by s73v3r (963317) <`s73v3r' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:40PM (#37975292)

    Their government doesn't have to compromise or reach consensus between ruling parties with vastly differing ideologies and goals.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:53PM (#37975430)

    Has it never occurred to you that there's a middle ground between where we are and no regulation at all?

    You assert we are at the extreme end of regulation?

    Or that one can go about regulation differently?

    One can always do things differently, but whether it is still effective is what matters.

    Or, geez, that even if there was _no_ regulation how public outcry from everyone would still provide a good deal of incentive to not do it? Not that I'd rely on that, but still we wouldn't be half as bad as China.

    We'd probably end up like China, or at least like we were in the early to middle part of the last century (can you say "superfund"), real quick. And people would die needlessly before the uproar was enough to drive them out of business or, as is the policy these days, they sell their assets to a new company and the shell goes under.

    I've heard nothing out of the likes of Bachmann, Perry, or Cain that suggest they have some plan for alternate forms of less intrusive regulation while still protecting the environment. Instead, they seem to desire to tear down regulations and environmental protections wholesale, for the sake of "jobs" and as in Cain's case the Koch Brothers who are, in his own words, his "brothers from another mother." Yeah. I think we know where his loyalties lie.

  • by MYakus (1625537) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:56PM (#37975482)

    "Draining the pond to catch the fish." That's how the Chinese refer to the current political and business environment in China. There isn't any long term view in China, it's all get what you can while you can. I've often wondered it was a matter of faith or ethics, those people were removed from the population during the Cultural Revolution. How do people in a society develop a long term view on things in an environment defined by Communist rule since 1949 and the millions where removed who were simply inconvenient to the ruling class?

    BTW, I don't believe that Sparta is a good model for a modern political or economic system. The tools that they used were relatively simple to manufacture and the gunmen are an inexpensive commodity in much of the world right now. China is short about 40 million girls due to the one child policy, so they have lots of expendable males.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <`s73v3r' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:58PM (#37975498)

    You are completely off-base with that comment about the Tea Party. I (as a tea partier) have no problem with unions in general except for public position unions and the ridiculous demands and perks they get paid for by the taxpayers. Unions are unnecessary if they work for the government since it is the government that sets most of the workplace environment regulations to begin with which makes unions redundant.

    FALSE. There is absolutely nothing of basis or worth in this statement. There is nothing wrong with public unions. Your right to collectively bargain and form associations should NOT change depending on who your employer is. And those "demands" are not ridiculous, just about every major study on the subject has found that public sector workers are compensated LESS than their private sector counterparts.

    PS: When you see someone who has an actual pension, or better working conditions than you do, the answer is NOT to say, "Why does he get that and I don't? We need to get rid of it!" The answer is to say, "Why does he get that and I don't? How can we get that from our employers as well?" Just because they have stronger bargaining positions than you do is no reason to hate them.

    Add to that the fact the union dues are used to support or lobby for political positions that all the members do not necessarily agree with but are forced to pay into and therefore support.

    I can say the exact same thing about donations made by corporations. My hard work and effort went into the company getting that money. Furthermore, I have shares in that company. Yet, I am forced to let those revenues go to support political positions that I despise. If you're going to bitch about union political donations, you must be against corporate political donations as well.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday November 07, 2011 @01:58PM (#37975506)

    They have no social services to speak of, they have no regulation or enforcement that anyone cares about and have little to no need for public buy-in or consensus. You show me an efficient government and I will show you an oppressive one.

  • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:10PM (#37975668)

    It's what happens when government is in concert with corporation - in China, many of the top corporations are, as you point out, effectively state owned.

    Here in the West, it's the other way around ; the government is in large part, owned in influence by the corporations. Happily, some part of it remains in public hands.

    I don't think your expressed desire for less government is unreasonable from the idealistic point of view, but this is not tenable in real life. Really, I suspect the majority of powerful people who express a wish for less government really mean - "less of the kind of government that gets in my way". I suspect they are not opposed to more of the kind of government that supports them by bailing out their banks, spending tax money on war materiel, and passing laws that continuously erode the original spirit of collective bargains like copyright and patents. Even the Tea Party doesn't put its money where its mouth is, and keeps its cash in a bailed-out bank [thinkprogress.org].

    Much of the the West is currently governed by the right wing ; well, China is the furthest end of right wing and has probably always been so - one mighty corporation in all but name. They have much less government than the West, and the common man is much worse off.

  • by bmo (77928) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:29PM (#37975918)

    >There's no nice way of putting this: You are retarded and whoever modded this nonsense "insightful" should be denied mod points indefinitely.

    There is no nice way of putting this but you, yourself, are delusional if you think the Republicans and the John Birch Society in drag (tea party) want anything less than burning rivers and brain addled lead paint chewing children, which got us the regulation in the first place.

    If you are a slavering Dominionst (which Dominionism is rampant in the Republican party these days, wot, with their prayer breakfasts and whatnot) you believe the end of the world is nigh, raping the planet is nothing compared to the raining blood and plagues which are to come shortly. If you believe the end of the world is coming, the least of your worries is preserving it.

    The only reasonable candidate that isn't a Dominionist or Bircher is Huntsman, and he's toast. This is what you get when you chase all the reasonable people out of your party.

    That's the truth, and to deny it is to deny reality. QED.

    --
    BMO

  • by Moryath (553296) on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:08PM (#37976324)

    the "corporations" _are_ the government and vice versa - and there's no real elections,

    And this differs from the USA how, precisely? At best, we have a smaller minority of honest people left in government doing their best to enforce existing regulations and prevent abuses like - oh hey that big gulf oil spill thing - while being stepped on by the Tea Party "gubmint iz bad 4 bizness" crowd.

    In the city I grew up in, the main waterway - which had a history of being used for travel and recreation and fishing and shipping - was so polluted that there WERE no fish left and you only went swimming if you wanted tetanus. These days it's looking much better, but only AFTER heavy duty intervention by the EPA that the Republicans hate so much.

    I want my kids to grow up with a safe environment. I want them to grow up not having the air polluted to a degree that people have to walk outside with masks on, I want them to grow up in a world where asthma is declining instead of massively rising due to the concentration of urban airborne pollution.

    Meanwhile, to the Tea Partiers/Republicans screaming "waah gubmint is bad regulations kill jobs"... fuck you. I refuse to go back to the 1920s when factories were allowed to dump raw sewage and waste directly into lakes and rivers, I refuse to go back to the 1930s when factories had no regulations forcing them to watch their particulate emissions, and I refuse to even go back to the 1980s when if you landed at JFK or La Guardia, your eyes started to burn as soon as you walked out of the airport.

  • by TheSync (5291) on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:17PM (#37976426) Journal

    Of course, 20 years ago, American manufacturing meant something. Nowadays, you're right, we'd have to find workers to re-fill the factories.

    American factories produce far more today than they did 20 years ago. With less workers, and more automation. The factories are being filled with machines.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:46PM (#37976732)

    I think it's hilarious that you believe that we've been bankrupted by Democrats.

    Who exploded the deficit in the 1980s in an attempt to out-spend the Soviet Union?

    Who inherited government surpluses at the turn of the century and then instead of paying down the debt, passed trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts?

    Who led us into a controversial and optional multi-trillion dollar war in Iraq? (Some might ask the same thing about Afghanistan.)

    Who passed and signed Medicare Part D (the prescription drug program) without even attempting to pay for it?

    Protip: The things that you are told on talk / shortwave radio, in church, on Fox News, etc. are not always true. In some cases, these people are filling you full of complete fabrications. You are allowed to think for yourself, do your own objective research, and come to your own conclusions. Be warned, however, that these conclusions may represent a drastic departure from the insular dogma of your particular echo chamber.

  • by mellon (7048) on Monday November 07, 2011 @03:56PM (#37976858) Homepage

    I'm sorry, but this is just naive. The problem we have is that we do not punish politicians for doing evil. This is true both of the Republicans and the Democrats. I won't argue that the Democrats will save us from overspending, because unfortunately they waste nearly as much money as the Republicans. But if you want to see a change, stop painting this as Republican versus Democrat. It's not. It's competent governance versus graft. Show up at the primaries. Pay attention to what the candidate did in office last time. If they voted for graft, and against competence, fire them by voting for their opponent in the primary. If neither candidate is an incumbent, look at what they did in their previous job. Think about it critically. Don't listen to their ads: pay attention to what they did in the past. Try your best to figure out if they really want to govern, or if they just want a ride on the gravy train. Vote accordingly.

    It's absolutely sickening how few voters show up for primary elections these days. And it's absolutely sickening how little thought and effort they seem to put into their votes (if what you said above is anything to judge by). Stop being a sheep. Be a citizen.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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