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|Wednesday, April 11, 2001, updated at 15:26(GMT+8)|
Sandstorms to Increase in China: ExpertChina may witness more sandstorms, some of which will have a severe impact, in the coming few years, an expert from the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said Tuesday.
The expanding desert in north China provides enough sand and dust to shape storms, said Wang Tao, an expert with the CAS, who took part in a scientific investigation on sandstorms from March 10 to 28 this year.
About 2,460 square kilometers of farmland and grassland have become desert annually in China since the early 1990s, and only 10 percent of the desert has been brought under control.
The investigation determined that sandstorms in north China mainly come from Alxa Highland in west Inner Mongolia, some farming areas and grassland in central Inner Mongolia, and the edge of the Taklimakan Desert.
Irrational farming and pasturing in these regions has led to the worsening environment and shrinking grassland and forests, which gave way to desert, Wang said.
"Sand and dust that sweep north China are not blown from the large desert, like Taklimakan, but from the barren land without plant covering," he said.
More sandstorms hit China in the past decade than in the 1980s, and the peak came in 2000, which saw the most sandstorms in the last 50 years.
The investigation covered northwest China's Gansu Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Inner Mongolia and Hebei Province in the north. It was sponsored by the State Environmental Protection Administration and the CAS.
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