A new World Bank study highlights the incidence, drivers and significant consequences of agricultural pollution in China, Vietnam and the Philippines and offers a hopeful outlook for cleaner and safer agriculture in East Asia.
Agricultural growth has allowed East Asia to support the development of some of the world’s fastest growing societies, but the study shows that the agricultural sector is becoming a victim of its own success as its environmental footprint deepens.
Gao Shangbin, deputy director of the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs’ Rural Energy and Environment Agency, said the rapid development of agriculture in China has come at a high price, resulting in soil, water and air pollution.
The country, however, has found remedies to repair the environment, including financial incentives to help farmers switch from labor- and resource-intensive farming methods to more efficient approaches.
The study has also offered some technical solutions and suggested policies to agricultural powerhouses to help improve the quality and value of agricultural production and create a cleaner and safer environment.
Laura Tuck, the World Bank’s vice-president for sustainable development, said: “Good pollution control policies and measures can increase the profitability of agriculture and spur the development of a competitive food industry while enhancing human and environmental health.”