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Beijing to Bid Farewell to Sandstorms in Ten Years

BEIJING, August 27 -- Beijing is expected to bid farewell to sandstorms by 2010, thanks to a ten-year sand control program that aims to improve the ecological environment in north China.

The program, designed for the 2001-2010 period, will benefit Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Over 900,000 hectares of farmland in these regions will be turned back into forests and grassland and 6 million hectares of waste land will be covered with trees, said Zhou Shengxian, director of State Forestry Administration.

According to Zhou, the sand control efforts also include grassland preservation, water conservancy and water-saving irrigation projects that aim to recover and preserve vegetation and curb desertification in north China.

Zhou said the one-year tryout of the sand control program has yielded positive results in Beijing, as 200,000 hectares of trees have been planted and 20,000 hectares of farmland in the city's outskirts have turned back into forest or grassland.

The sand control program is one of the six major programs outlined by the State Forestry Administration. The other five involve forest preservation, turning of farm land into forestry and wildlife protection.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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