Authorities in the city of Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province have said they are looking into a case involving local rice that is suspected of being contaminated by heavy metals, and that they will dispose of it in a safe way if it is confirmed. The Jiujiang government publicity department said on its Sina Weibo account on Friday [10 November 2017] that they sent investigators to probe the case and will gather up any possibly contaminated rice…Full Article: The Global Times Nov 2017

Key Point

  • The cadmium pollution of local rice paddies is believed to have originated from the Jiujiang Mining and Smelting C0. The company operates sulfur, gold and copper mines on Dingjia Mountain, Jiangxi Province. Waste water from the mines eventually found its way into local farmland.

ChinaAg Comments

  • Jiangxi Province is landlocked but it does contain two internal ports. The first is Jiujiang Port located on the Yangtze River while the second is Nanchang Port on the Gan River. Both are upstream from the mouth of the Yangtze River near Shanghai. Jiujiang is located on the shores of the Yangtze River.
  • Cadmium is a heavy metal that is produced by refining zinc ores. China is world’s largest zinc producer, and was forecasted to account for 37% of the global zinc mine production in 2017. Cadmium is used in various alloys, as well as to produce batteries, televisions, semiconductors, etc. Excessive cadmium consumption can damage the kidneys, lungs, liver, and bones.
  • In September 2017, a Chinese research project led by Yuan Longping High-Tech Agriculture (SHE:000998) reportedly developed a new variety of rice that mitigated against cadmium pollution. The low-cadmium Indica rice trial project (soil contained 1.5 mg/kg of cadmium) was located in Xiangtan County, Hunan Province. Two rice samples registered 0.06 mg/kg and 0.07 mg/kg of cadmium, which was below the national standard of 0.2 mg/kg.
  • In August 2017, the World Bank in China announced it would lend USD 100 million to ameliorate heavy metal pollution in Hunan Province, central China. The World Bank program will encompass 8,000 hectares of farmland (primarily rice crops).
  • In February 2013, Guangdong Province reported that cadmium tainted rice from Hunan Province was distributed within Guangdong. In May 2013, there were widespread reports of cadmium rice being served at restaurants in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province.
  • In February 2012, the Hunan provincial government began a cadmium testing initiative.
  • According to a 2011 survey conducted by China’s Ministry of Agriculture, 67.8% of the sampled rice paddy land (or 107,200 hectares out of 182,133 ha) were contaminated with pollutants including cadmium, arsenic, nickel, copper, mercury and chromium. The survey took place in Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Sichuan.
  • In 2009, a research group from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), South China Agricultural University, Xiamen University and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland tested 100 samples of rice from Hunan Province. Of the 100 rice samples, 65 had excessive cadmium.

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