This article concerns a new Greenpeace report on pesticide residue in vegetables based on research in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The report states that of the sample of vegetables sold in Beijing, 40% contained more than 5 kinds of pesticides. Of the sampled vegetables in Guangzhou, 34% surpassed the national standard on remnant pesticides while just one sample did so in Shanghai.
The Greenpeace research team sampled 133 commonly eaten vegetables in total during August and September 2014. The vegetables in the Beijing sample with the highest pesticide residue were Indian lettuce (youmaicai, 油麦菜), tomato and cucumber; Indian lettuce was found to contain 16 different kinds of pesticide. In Guangzhou, the most seriously affected vegetable was mustard greens (jiecai, 芥菜), some of which contained up to 17 different kinds of pesticide.
The report clearly shows that in comparison to Beijing and Guangzhou, Shanghai has dramatically improved its ecological situation. From 2007 to 2012, Shanghai made great efforts to decrease its annual use of pesticides by 6.38% and of fertilizer by 4.84%. In this period, the Shanghai government invested and put resources into ecological farming facilities and equipment. They have managed to standardize almost all aspects of the field-to-market process.
The article concludes with the Greenpeace research team’s suggestions. They propose that relevant government departments familiarize themselves with the amount of pesticides and fertilizer used in vegetable growing, gradually reduce that amount and encourage the use of organic alternatives. At the same time, these government departments should improve all aspects of the system including establishing and publishing records of pesticide and fertilizer use and reinforcing farmers’ access to markets.