China dating wasteland
Sand storms have also severely undermined the reservoir’s efficiency, as decades of storms have deposited 33 million m³ of silt into the reservoir, filling a third of the dam’s capacity.
Further east, China’s regional economic aspirations are threatened by greater desertification.
Furthermore, since these trees were derived from cuttings, their life expectancy (of around 40 years) was greatly reduced.
Consequently, huge swathes of trees planted in previous decades are dying of old age, all at the same time.
This project – colloquially dubbed the ‘Green Wall of China’ – is a multigenerational mega project slated to be completed by 2050.
Alongside the Gobi, China is now home to the Taklimaka desert, the world’s second largest wandering desert.
Consequently, the spread of deserts has seen more than half the land in provinces such as Gansu rendered inhospitable.
Specifically, the Chinese government’s Silk Road infrastructure projects connecting Central Asia are at risk of being swallowed by the desert.
For instance, China has had to build forested windbreaks and shelters from 2003 to 2006, to protect a 522 km highway in Xinjiang.
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This only further reduces the already low number of clear sky days in Beijing, fueling protests and unrest over the region’s pollution.