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|Tuesday, November 28, 2000, updated at 22:41(GMT+8)|
Major Sand-Storm Prevention Research Program LaunchedA major scientific and technological research and demonstration program for reducing the occurrence of sand storms was launched in China's capital city of Beijing on November 27.
In launching the program, Deng Nan, Vice Minister of Science and Technology said that China is to establish six sand prevention research and demonstration areas, five in Hebei and Inner Mongolia Autonomous region and one in Beijing's suburban Daxing County.
Deng said, the program, estimated to cost about 100 million yuan (US$12 million) for the next three years, will be completed by combining efforts of her ministry and the Ministry of Agriculture, the city of Beijing, Hebei Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, several other departments and a number of big companies.
The vice minister said the research projects include developing a selection of plants for sand areas, the building of a sand-storm monitoring system, resuming use of desertized pasture, and effective utilization of water and soil resources in sand areas.
Since March this year, Beijing and other parts of northern China have suffered from 12 sand storms and the Chinese government has recognized the importance of sand storm prevention work.
So far, the Ministry of Science and Technology has drafted a five-year sand prevention plan for the coming Tenth Five-Year Plan period (2001 to 2005).
The Chinese government decided earlier this year to spend 20 billion yuan (2.4 billion dollars) over the next 10 years on improving the environment in Inner Mongolia, the so called "back courtyard" of Beijing.
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