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`GREEN WALL’ OF CHINA IS HELPING CUT DOWN ON DUST STORMS IN CITIES

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An energetic tree-planting campaign in China over the past four decades seems to have significantly reduced the dust storms that once plagued major cities there.

The planting of a "Great Green Wall" of 300 million trees since the 1950s amounts to "one of the most aggressive weather modification programs in the 20th century," according to a report in the June 1 edition of Geophysical Research Letters."The Chinese forestation project may deserve the credit" for the reduction in dust storms, it said. It noted that the change improves air quality and visibility in the region, reducing human suffering and benefiting agriculture and transportation.

The report was prepared by researchers at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis-tra-tion and the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences.

Dust blowing off the Gobi Desert, along the Chinese-Mongolian border, and off the Taklimakan Desert in western China long clouded the skies of Chinese cities.