BEIJING, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Over three years after China declared war on pollution, lawmakers began reviewing a draft legislation for the country's first soil pollution prevention and control law on Thursday to head off rising public concerns over environmental costs of decades of rapid growth.
The draft law, which promised to set up soil pollution prevention funds and conduct nationwide soil condition census once in a decade, is China's latest attempt to curb worsening soil pollution and rehabilitate the country's vast swathes of contaminated land.
Explaining the draft to lawmakers at the start of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee's bi-monthly session, Luo Qingquan, deputy head of the NPC's Environment and Resources Protection Committee, said China is facing a "grim situation" in terms of its soil conditions.
Soil pollution has become an imminent environmental challenge that needs to be addressed and an outstanding obstacle in the country's quest to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, he said.
By putting in place the "strictest environmental protection system," the new law will help improve soil quality, ensure safe agricultural products and public health, safeguard sustainability in the utilization of soil resources, and protect and improve the environment, he said.