Over 8 million acres of Chinese countryside has been deemed too polluted to grow food. According to the Chinese cabinet, the farm land is too rife with heavy chemicals to support healthy vegetation, and express concern that this and other types of pollution could lead to serious food shortages throughout the country.

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Pollution already poses serious health threats to locals. Enveloping smog affects air quality and there have been numerous complaints of of contaminated water supplies. These problems have eclipsed the issue of contaminated farmland, however, and officials have until now downplayed the situation’s severity. With 8 million acres of formerly fertile farmland contaminated, China’s food supply could be in serious peril.

The polluted farmland makes up about two percent of the country’s growable land, a considerable size for China’s booming population. Although the cabinet has acknowledged 8 million acres to be contaminated with heavy metals, some scientists say it is more likely that 60 million acres, or one fifth of the country’s arable land, is unfit for sustainable agriculture.

Despite governmental actions to cease food production in contaminated regions, tainted rice and other crops have already entered the Chinese food supply. Numerous tests have revealed the presence of cadmium in rice plants, a metal that causes kidney damage.

The Communist Party issued a five year plan in which they promise to reduce heavy metal pollution and dedicate several billion dollars to cleaning up contaminated areas.

Via Huffington Post

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