Huai Lai County, China - Peoples Republic of
ELDERLY CHINESE VILLAGERS REST DURING AN AFFORESTATION PROJECT NEAR BEIJING.
Elderly Chinese villagers student rest as they take part in an afforestation project at Huai Lai county in Hebei province, 70kms northwest of Beijing, April 15. The environment in Huai Lai county has been deteriorating so much that parts of fields and several small mountains have been buried as a result of desertification. Official statistics show that over the past decades, desertification in the country has been deteriorating instead of improving and more than 40 per cent of China's territory had been turned into desert. Before the 1980s, China's desertified land expanded at an average rate of 1,560 square kilometers a year. The figure rose to 2,100 square kilometers a year in the 1980s and to 2,460 square kilometers in 1994. Sandstorms that swept much of northern and eastern China in the past weeks have set off alarm of deteriorating ecology in the areas.