The World Bank has offered a loan of up to US$100 million to China to help bar soil erosion in the country's central and southwestern provinces.
The Yangtze/Pearl River Watershed Rehabilitation Project will soon get underway in the provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, Hubei and Chongqing Municipality, according to Xu Yanjie, an official with the Water Resources Department of Guizhou.
The project aims to protect environment and improve the livelihoods of people in poor areas of the Yangtze and Pearl River Basins where the watersheds are in serious trouble after years of degradation.
The project, which will be expected to promote an integrated model of sustainable rural development, will last six years and be implemented in 38 cities and counties of the four provinces and municipalities, Xu said.
These regions have been suffering serious soil erosion caused by local natural conditions and human activity and report soil erosion to more than 47.5 percent of the total land area.
Due to deterioration of ecological environment and natural adversities, people in 22 counties out of the 38 counties selected for the program suffer from poverty, Xu said.
Funds from the project will be used to build hillside terraces, protect mountain slopes, plant more trees and orchards, building water treatment facilities, promote the use of biogas all in an effort to encourage soil and water conservation. The project will also have an educational component that will increase environmental awareness among local farmers and the general public.
(Xinhua News Agency May 9, 2006)