China Builds “Green Wall” to Hold Back Growing Desert

AFP has a fascinating article about a new “green wall” that has been planted in Inner Mongolia. The wall, consisting of pine trees, grasses, and apricot bushes, aims to hold back the growing Gobi Desert. Chinese officials already see positive results from the new barrier, citing a decrease in the number of large sandstorms affecting the area. The wall also aims to protect Beijing from blowing sand during the upcoming Olympic Games.

Skeptics, however, note that

the root of the problem, overpopulation and unsustainable development, has not been addressed by a narrow corridor of grass and trees.

Jiang Gaoming, of the Institute of Botany at the Chinese Academy of Science, said that 60 billion yuan (7.6 billion dollars) spent on projects to control sandstorms hitting Beijing had been largely wasted. “Do not get too excited by those recovered grasslands and forests you see alongside the highways. They only cover 10 percent of the total affected area. The other 90 percent causes the continuing sandstorms,” said Jiang.

So what do you think, Dirt readers? Will the Gobi be reined in by a living wall? Or is this pre-Olympic Games “greenwashing”?

[photo of Mongolia by tiarescott]


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