Inner Mongolia Crucial for Beijing's "Green Olympics"

The Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in north China plans to build an ecological defense line and a major clean energy base within the next five years to help Beijing host the "Green Olympics" in 2008.

Known as Beijing's "Ecological Backyard", the autonomous regionfor many years has suffered from excessive desertification which often causes spring and summer sand storms in Beijing .

According to a local forestry official Gao Xilin, a 4,000-kilometer ecological front, the longest of its kind in northern China, will be set up north of China's Great Wall to prevent sand moving southward into Beijing in summertime.

As about 15 billion yuan (about US$1.8 billion) will be spent on ecological treatment during the next five years, Gao said that the average annual land area undergoing ecological improvement will increase from 700,000 to 1 million hectares.

In addition, the Autonomous Region also hopes to provide more clean energy such as natural gas and electricity to help Beijing improve its air quality.

To guarantee the transfer of electricity to northern China, especially Beijing, Tianjin and Tangshan, four major pipelines and20 power plant projects will be completed within next five years.

( Xinhua News Agency January 22, 2002)

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