MANILA (AFP) — China is getting outside help for a project to stop the alarming spread of deserts in its western interior that causes siltation of the Yellow River, the Asian Development Bank said Saturday.
Manila-based ADB said it will help Beijing design a project to restore the severely degraded drylands of Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, as well as Xinjiang autonomous region, which together cover 40 percent of the country.
"Land degradation is a critical environmental problem in all three project jurisdictions," an area that once hosted the ancient Silk Road trading route between Asia and Europe, a bank statement said.
The plateau that covers most of Shaanxi and eastern Gansu is the source of fine, wind-blown soil that gives the Yellow River its distinctive colouring downstream and creates problems of sedimentation, it added.
Meanwhile "shelter-belt green areas" are needed in the Xinjiang desert to prevent the shifting of the desert sands.
The bank said it will provide an 800,000-dollar technical assistance grant that would help China design "an investment project for sustainable use of natural resources in the project area".
The region has a rapidly growing population that puts more stress on the ecosystem, it added.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »