China Tells Troops to Put Down Their Guns, Take Up Their Shovels and Plant Trees

March 2, 2018 at 2:47 am

China deploys 60,000 troops to fight enemy number one in the country — air pollution — by planting 16 million acres of trees

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China is going to war with a new kind of enemy — industrial air pollution. The People’s Liberation Army has reassigned 60,000 troops to plant 16 million acres of trees to help clean the air.

Air pollution is such a serious problem in the country it was responsible for one-third of all deaths there in 2016.

By the end of this year, troops will have planted an air pollution-absorbing “sponge” of forested land roughly the size of Ireland, at 32,400 square miles. By 2035, the government aims to increase the portion of China’s total landmass dedicated to forests from 21 to 26 percent.

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Reforestation combined with measures like banning vehicles with combustion engines, replacing coal with natural gas, and leading the world in the production of solar energy should make a decent size dent in China’s smog,

Most of the planting will occur around China’s densely populated and highly polluted capital city, Beijing.

The sprawling region is believed to be “a major culprit for producing the notorious smog,” reports The Independent.

Tree planting in Beijing, China

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China isn’t the only country rethinking the value of trees. Latin American countries have vowed to restore 50 million acres of forest, while African countries aim to plant 250 million. Last year, Indian citizens planted a record-breaking 66 million new trees in under 12 hours. England is planting 50 million new trees alongside a high-traffic freeway.

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