Ningxia is winning battle against sand

Updated: 2015-03-17 08:21

By LUO WANGSHU(China Daily)

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Ningxia is winning battle against sand

Farmer Gu Yunxiang plants seedlings at Lingwu in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region in 2013 as part of efforts to combat desertification. She was hired to plant trees on barren land 14 years ago. [Photo/China Daily]

Efforts to combat the loss of land to desert have reduced the arid area in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region by 30 percent since the 1970s and prevented sandstorms from sweeping through Central China.

"We've made breakthrough achievements in fighting desertification," said Li Jianhua, a National People's Congress deputy and the region's Party chief. "Ningxia has become known for blue skies, green land, clean water and fresh air.

"As the first region to successfully control the speed of desertification, we have cut the passage through which sandstorms entered Central China."

Liu Hui, the region's chairwoman, said: "It is important to maintain sustainable development. We would rather give up opportunities for economic development than sacrifice the environment."

The region in northwest China is flanked by deserts, and 55.8 percent of its area is sand, according to 2011 figures. This accounts for 22.4 percent of the country's total arid area.

In 1970, Ningxia launched a tree-planting program and other measures to improve the environment and control the expansion of the desert.

The arid area has been cut to 11,620 square kilometers from 16,500 square kilometers since then.

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