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Council Bids To Tame Desert With Green Camouflage Nets

Council Bids To Tame Desert With Green Camouflage Nets

City planners who messed up when they accidentally created a huge artificial desert on the outskirts of the city after a scheme to create a nature park went badly awry are now covering the dunes with nets.

And the huge plastic netting sheets have been chosen in green, to give the impression that the city is surrounded by grass covered hills.

The original idea was for a beautiful lake to be built on the outskirts of Zhengzhou City in Henan Province in central China. In order to create it developers had to tap a natural water source as well as removing hundreds of thousands of tons of sand to make the hole.

But nature did not play along with the plans. The underground water source dried up and the sand began to spread, creating a wasteland of parched and arid earth instead of the green landscape that its creators had in mind.

Other vegetation in the area began to be choked by the drifting sand until all that remained was a Saharan look-a-like.

The artificial desert is not far from the thriving business district of the city, and on hot and windy days, the sand is carried into the centre where it abrades the paintwork of cars and forces pedestrians to wear face masks in order to breathe.

"The pile of sand is now 100 feet high in some places. The local government does not take any protective measures for it at all. During a recent holiday high wind brought flying dust and sand, making it hard for us to open our eyes when we're outdoors. No-one wants to do business around here with this desert on their doorstep," a commercial tenant nearby said sadly.

So now locals have swung into action to cover the desert with the nets to stop the sand blowing away - and the desert from spreading any further.

"It is a triumph of central planning where everything that could have gone wrong did," said Sun-Yat Foo, a local critic of the original lake plan.

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