Tue, 16 Aug 2022

© Provided by Xinhua

by Mahmoud Fouly

CAIRO, June 16 (Xinhua) -- China's tree-planting effort has contributed greatly to the world combating desertification and mitigating climate change, an Egyptian veteran ecologist has said.

On the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought marked by the United Nations on June 17 every year, Magdy Allam, secretary-general of the Arab Federation for Environmental Experts affiliated with the Arab League, said in an interview with Xinhua that China has played a big part in helping restore ecosystems by planting trees in mountains to combat desertification.

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The Egyptian environmentalist spoke highly of China's efforts to reforest barren land and desert areas, acknowledging the Asian country's green drive spearheaded by the northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which is home to several large deserts and covers 23.3 percent of China's total areas of desertified land and 23.7 percent of the country's total sandy land, respectively.

Last year, Inner Mongolia planted approximately 5.94 million mu (about 396,000 hectares) of trees and 16.67 million mu of grass, and treated 5.3 million mu of desertified and sandy land, according to a government work report delivered to the regional congressional meeting.

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Allam, also an advisor to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an environmental-focused financial organization, noted that China is among the countries that have pledged to plant billions of trees to restore vegetation that would absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the years.

"There is no alternative to restoring green vegetation because we have lost almost 40 percent of the planet's forest surface as a result of desertification and drought," Allam said.

China is an integral part of the world's fight against desertification and drought, pioneering by putting sustainable development and a shift to clean energy in the national strategy, in addition to remarkable results in fighting air pollution, according to the Egyptian ecologist.

"The Chinese (people) have expanded the production of electric cars and clean energy, and begun to get rid of coal energy and implement a gradual phase-out program for coal," he noted.

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Being one of the world's largest solar energy producers, China is trying to move away from fossil fuels and head further towards clean energy, Allam noted.

Describing China as "a role model" for all developing countries in preserving the environment and developing clean energy, he said China has substantial experience in recycling, reforestation, green agriculture, and wastewater treatment, from which Egypt can learn through cooperation.

As the whole world is becoming increasingly attentive to protecting the environment, the only reservoir of vital natural resources such as air, water as well as food, China "knows very well" the importance of natural preservation, Allam told Xinhua.

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