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Cracks in the Green Wall
It’s a typical spring scene in Beijing; northerly winds rattle windows, dust smatters roof tops, cars, and pedestrians. Walk outside and you’re bombarded with tiny sand particles that cling to your eyes and crunch between your teeth.
For centuries in northern China, these annual sandstorms, called the Yellow Dragon, have been ripping through the city. Experience just one and you’ll know why. They roar through the city, upending construction sites and raining yellow sand on everything in their path. The largest storms can be seen from space as huge brown plumes moving from northwest China and Mongolia to blanket much of northeast Asia.
In 1978, with such an expanse of Chinese land either naturally desert or prone to desertification, the Chinese government established a formal campaign to address such threats.
Their cure-all solution? The Green Wall of China, also known as the Three-North Forest Shelterbelt Program (三北防护林体系工程 Sān běi fánghùlín tǐxì gōngchéng). It’s…
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