China Transfers 60,000 Soldiers To Fight Pollution
Reports in Mainland China reveal that the country has conscripted over 60,000 of its soldiers to plant trees in its effort to establish new forests. The biggest country with the largest population in the world is experiencing a lack of trees, which organically produce clean air and fight pollution, a problem China has faced for decades. An Asia Times report indicated that the People’s Liberation Army regiment together with the country’s armed police force in the northern border areas in China were removed from their positions and ordered to take part in the effort to control the high levels of air pollution in the country.
A report also revealed that the highest concentrations of pollution in China are located in the northeast part of the country where industrial facilities conduct their operations. In these areas, there is an average of PM2.5 concentration of pollutants in 2015. According to the Atmospheric Composition Analysis Group at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, Canada, PM2.5 are fine particulate matters of 2.5 micron or less in diameter which reduces visibility and cause the air and atmosphere to appear hazy when their levels are increased.
No surprise to anyone, taking on the task to create new forests is a big project. China is aiming to enough forest to cover 6.66 million hectares this year. According to Zhang Jianlong, the head of China’s State Forestry Administration, in the last five years, his country has already established 33.8 million hectares (around 338,000 square kilometers) of forests. Reuters also reported that China wanted to increase its woodland areas from 21.7 percent in 2016 to 23 percent by 2020.
Most of the transferred soldiers will be assigned in the Hebei Province, the area that suffers the most pollution. There is a plan to create three new forests in this location. This province has been blamed for the production of smog and fumes that pollute Beijing including northern China. But it has already committed to adding 35 percent more forest coverage at the end of 2020. Reports coming from Asia Times reveal that the soldiers are not dismayed at their reassignment. This work will enable them to escape from the harsh living conditions of the northern borders of China.