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Moves to Green Yangtze, Yellow River Sources
Qinghai province in northwest China has launched a massive project to control water and soil erosion at the sources of the country's two longest rivers: the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, local officials said Wednesday.

Officials with the Qinghai Provincial Water Resources Department say the 10 million yuan (US$8.2 million) project aims to control water and soil erosion in 60 percent of the affected 264,000 sq km (101,904 sq miles) by 2006.

The aim is to stop the water and soil erosion caused by human activity in the two areas, mostly grassland areas.

Plans are for provincial officials to set up a task force to head the project, increase public awareness, conduct a survey of the target areas and formulate a plan of action. Planting will increase grasslands and sheep will be raised in fenced areas which will keep them away from ecologically fragile areas.

Water and soil erosion has been reported over 4.89 sq km (1.89 sq miles) at the source of the 6,300 km (3,914 miles) Yangtze river, and 3.78 sq km (1.46 sq miles)at the source of the 5,464 km (3,395 miles) Yellow river, about 36 percent of the total land.

Global warming and excessive human activity are blamed for the eroded grassland, experts say.

They say the snowline and glaciers have receded and the rainfall and surface water flow have decreased dramatically because of global warming.

These have caused desertification and a loss of water and soil at the source of the rivers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

(People’s Daily June 20, 2002)

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