Ministry cites ‘tougher’ soil erosion battle

BEIJING: Further reducing soil erosion in China is becoming increasingly difficult as the remaining affected areas – which have seen four decades of progress that has reduced the extent of the problem and its intensity – are “tougher and more complicated” to deal with, the Ministry of Water Resources said recently.
The latest data, released by the ministry in August, said 2.71 million square kilometers of land experienced soil erosion last year, down almost 1 percent from 2018 and 26 percent from the 1980s. The ministry said the improvement was due to various water conservancy projects, including transforming slope farmland, which is more likely to lose soil when it rains, into a combination of terraced farmland, forests and grassland. For example, the Loess Plateau, located in the middle reaches of the Yellow River, remains one of the most severely eroded areas in China due to its hilly terrain and heavy summer rains.
In the 1980s, about 10 percent of the soil that entered the Yellow River each year came from Qingyang, a city on the plateau in Gansu province. But after years of effort, Qingyang has gradually brought the loss under control, Xinhua News Agency reported. The local water resources authority devised terraced fields and planted trees such as pines and sea buckthorn on slopes. At the bottoms of the slopes, it built dams to stop muddy water from flowing into the river.
Data from the local soil and water conservation bureau showed the city lost about 98 million metric tons of soil last year, down more than 40 percent from the average annual loss in the 1980s. “However, to maintain the declining trend nationwide, further efforts are needed, especially in areas severely hit by soil erosion such as Northeast and Southwest China and the Yangtze and Yellow river basins,” the ministry said.
– The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item