Chinese environment agencies have succeeded in curbing desertification as the area of sand is shrinking by 1,283 square kilometers a year, said a senior Chinese legislator on Friday.
"It used to expand by 3,436 square kilometers annually towards the end of last century," said Raidi, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, at a meeting to review desert control.
He said although some achievements had been made, the situation of desertification and sand remained severe.
"China still has 1.74 million square kilometers of sandy area, which accounts for about 18 percent of the total land area. It affects the lives of nearly 400 million people and causes more than 50 billion yuan in losses a year," he said.
He said ecological conditions in treated land remained fragile.
The government implemented a law on preventing desertification and treating sand areas on Jan. 1, 2002, the first law of its kind in the world.
(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2006)