Learn lesson from China's pollution

August 1, 2013 

It is imperative that we protect our agricultural heritage. We only have to look at China to see what bad policy can do. It is estimated that between 8 and 20 percent of the arable land in China is contaminated with heavy metals. It was only 30 years ago that the walnut industry thought that China would dominate the industry. Now China wants to purchase from the United States 200,000 tons of walnuts, a third of the crop. What went wrong?

China had a problem. Because of industrial pollution their urban areas were beginning to become unfit to live and work. So the government began the expansion of polluting industries into rural areas. As the land and water became polluted, the local industries paid the farmers for their harvests that could not be eaten. Almost every week there is a news story about tainted food from China.

Our agricultural community is faced with encroachment from industrial and large corporate farms. They tax the water supply and pollute local areas. We need local political leadership that puts their self interests aside and focus on the common good of all citizens. Our heritage is rooted in providing food for the world. Let us not wake up one day to a "Silent Spring."

ROBERT RASPO

Modesto

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