May 11, 2007

Southern Mongolia: The Green Great Wall

The Korea-China Future Forest Association and the government of Inner Mongolia have launched a 5-year project aimed at protecting the region from toxic sandstorms with a wall of trees.

Below is an article written by Benoit Faucon published by Market Watch:

BEJING, May 10 (Yonhap) -- Some 1,000 South Korean and Chinese youths will plant trees in an Southern Mongolian desert on Saturday to establish a grand forest in the desert, a project that aims to tackle one of the main sources of harmful yellow dust that hits Northeast Asia every spring, officials said Thursday.

The Seoul-based Korea-China Future Forest Association and the government of Southern Mongolia agreed to embark on the joint project to curtail damage from sandstorms in October.

Under the five-year project that will cost 7 billion won (US$7. 7 million), the two sides will establish a "Green Great Wall" 28 km long and 3 to 8 km wide in the Kubuqi Desert.

Yellow dust is fine sand that originates in arid parts of China and Mongolia. The dust particles often contain toxic chemicals and other harmful substances from Chinese factories that can cause respiratory disorders, as well as environmental and industrial damage. The dust can also adversely affect semiconductors and other precision goods.

With the size of Asian deserts growing due to climate change and the over-cutting of forests, the frequency and intensity of yellow dust storms have grown in recent years.