07 Nov '11, 7am
BEIJING (AFP) - About 10 per cent of China's farmland contains excessive levels of heavy metals due to contaminated water and poisonous waste seeping into the soil, state media said on Monday, citing a government survey. Pollution from heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cancer-causing cadmium is often blamed for poisoning entire villages and crop-growing land in China as factory bosses flout environmental laws and farmers use toxic fertilisers. The report in the Southern Metropolis Daily said the survey organised by the environmental protection ministry found about 10 per cent of farmland had 'striking problems of heavy metal levels exceeding (official) limits'. 'Heavy metal pollution incidents have occurred repeatedly in recent years,' Wan Bentai, chief engineer at the ministry, was quoted saying.