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East Asia can conquer agricultural pollution: World Bank

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Beijing, March 24 (IANS) Technical solutions mean that East Asian countries were likely to win their battle against agriculture pollution, according to a World Bank report.

"Agricultural growth has played a significant role in increasing food security, and lifting millions of people out of poverty in East Asia over the last three decades," said Laura Tuck, World Bank Vice President for sustainable development.

"However, this growth has also come at a high price, resulting in unprecedented soil, water, and air pollution in the region," said Tuck.

Agricultural expansion has allowed the region to support some of the world’s fastest developing societies, reports Xinhua news agency.

"Alongside success in agricultural output, the region’s agriculture is becoming a victim of its own success," said Iain Shuker, Manager of Environment and Natural Resources global practice of the World Bank.

Agriculture has become a major, if not the leading, contributor to the soil, air, and water pollution, according to the report, "The Challenge of Agricultural Pollution: Evidence from China, Vietnam, and the Philippines".

Artificial chemicals in food have also affected domestic food safety, and international market access.

Good pollution control can increase the profits and spur development of a competitive food industry.

The report shows that a re-orientation of public policy, and spending on pollution control, benefits farmers and consumers alike.

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