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Chinese Farmers Care About Environmental Protection

Farmer volunteers from Pingshan County, north China's Hebei Province, are busy spreading the word about environmental protection in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang these days.

They are preparing for the World Environment Day, which falls on June 5, and are recording their hopes throughout the city for agreener earth and a healthier environment by writing in local record books.

The volunteers, all villagers of Xigou Village of Pingshan County, are members of the "Friends of Greenness", a non-governmental organization for volunteers in environmental protection of Hebei Province.

Xigou Village, a dozen kilometers away from the county town of Pingshan, is a typical mountain village. It is beside the Gangnan Reservoir, the source of drinking water for Shijiazhuang.

This spring, Xigou Village and Hebei Beifang Auto Trade Center cooperated to afforest barren hills near the village. The two sides planted trees on more than 33 hectares of barren hills during the first-phase project period.

To protect local environment, 20 villagers of Xigou, who are also members of the same environmental protection organization, have gone to Duijiushi Village in Yanqing County, an environmentaleducation base in the suburbans of Beijing, to learn about protecting environment.

"It is very rare for farmers to come here to learn about the environment," say local volunteers at the education base.

Visitors to the education center are mainly domestic and foreign government officials and United Nations' scholars and officials.

"These farmers' actions show that people have become more aware of environmental protection," said Sun Jun, director of the education base.

Duijiushi Village is famous for its achievements in improving and protecting the local environment. The per capita income for local farmers from visitors exceeds 10,000 yuan annually.

(Xinhua News Agency June 4, 2002)

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