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Largest Salk Lake in Xinjiang Shrinks

URUMQI, September 4 -- Owing to sandstorms and rapid population growth, the surface of Ebinur Lake, the largest salt lake in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has shrunk to 530 square kilometers in the past five decades.

Formed in the Quaterary Period, Ebinur Lake has gradually been turned from a fresh water lake into a salt one. Its water surface was 1,200 sq. km. in the early 1950s, only one third of its original size.

As a result, the number of 117 rare plants and animals living in and around the lake have reduced considerably. Antelope, red deer, swan and other rare species have become extinct in the region.

Statistics show that the wind blows an estimated 4.8 million tons of dust and sand away from the region annually. The No. 312 national highway, which is adjacent to Ebinur Lake, has to alter the route as part of the original road has been buried by sand. The Euro-Asia Continental Railway Bridge suspended operation on several occasions for the same reason.

To prevent the lake from shrinking slowly, the regional government has taken a series of measures including planting trees and grass around the lake and setting up a nature preserve in the region.


-- source: Xinhua News Agency


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