The environmental watchdog has called for the establishment of a
national ecological reserve in Dunhuang, northwest China's Gansu Province, to prevent the further
deterioration of the environment there.
An official with the State Environmental Protection
Administration (SEPA) made the appeal after the media reported that
Dunhuang's environment had deteriorated.
Dunhuang was once an important site on the ancient Silk Road, a
2,000-year-old trade route that linked Asia and Europe, starting in
Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, and ending in Europe after
passing through southern and central Asian countries.
In 1987, the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes, also known as the Caves of
1,000 Buddhas, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Surrounded by a desert, Dunhuang has an extremely arid climate
and a very fragile ecosystem. Global climate change and human
activities have resulted in a decline in the amount of
The official said major rivers in Dunhuang had run dry and lakes
were disappearing. The water table has dropped sharply and natural
disasters such as sandstorms are common.
The deteriorated ecosystem in Dunhuang poses a threat to the
local cultural relics and natural scenery, the official said.
Besides the natural factors, defects in the administration of
Dunhuang have made protecting the ecosystem there difficult, the
He added that the administrative system had failed to come up
with a comprehensive plan to balance the needs of economic
development, social development and environmental protection.
The SEPA called for local environment-protection departments to
improve their environment impact assessments and to do more to
restrict the use of natural resources.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency August 13, 2007)