China's largest sand area looks to green future

16:53, June 14, 2010      

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It looks like a scene from the fertile rice-growing areas of south China.

But the early summer picture of farmer Wang Haiquan working his water buffalos in a paddy field lined with rice seedings is actually in the former sandy area of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Wang's village, Fuxingdi, is in Horqin, China's largest sandy area, spreading over Inner Mongolia and the northeastern Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang Provinces.

The sand covers an area of 410 million mu (270,000 square km), and another 113 million mu of surrounding is at risk of desertification.

Liaoning's Fuxin City and neighboring Tongliao, in Inner Mongolia, have become the frontline in the battle to stop the sands being blown south towards Beijing and Tianjin Municipality.

Twelve kilometers north of Fuxingdi, in Zhangwu County of Fuxin, is a boundless stretch of sand where greenery is almost non-existent.

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