People in China are increasingly having to deal with the environmental cost of their rapid economic growth.

A government report says nearly one-fifth of farmland in mainland China is polluted. The report was based on a study undertaken from April 2005 to last December on more than 2.4 million square miles of land across the country.

The study says 16.1 percent of China's soil and 19.4 percent of its arable land is contaminated. It says heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic are the top pollutants.

The report blames industrial and agricultural activities - things like factory waste, the improper use of fertilizers and pesticides, and irrigating land with polluted water.

Hunan Province, in central China, has some of the worst soil pollution and is also one of the country's top metal producers.

It is also a large rice-growing area, and produced 16 percent of the country's crop in 2012.

As pollution in the air, water and land takes its toll, the government is now supporting numerous projects to find solutions.

Al Jazeera's Rob McBride reports from Zhejian Province, in eastern China, about a scientist looking to make the land fertile once more.

Source: Al Jazeera