Feb 9, 2019-
In China, nearly 20 percent of land is desert. Desert expansion has been a serious issue since the 1950s and desert regions have grown by more than 385,000 square miles—an area about the size of France and Germany combined.
As a result of a combination of poor farming practices, droughts and an increased demand for groundwater, desertification has arguably become China’s most important environmental challenge. As the effects of increasing desertification begin to appear, farmers are forced to abandon their lands, rural poverty is on the rise, and the intensity of sandstorms, which batter northern and western China each year, continue to intensify.
The Gobi is the fastest growing desert on Earth, transforming nearly 2,250 miles of grassland per year into inhospitable wasteland. This expansion eats away at space that was once fit for agriculture and creates unbridled sandstorms that batter cities near the edge of the desert, like the village around Donghu, Minqin which is no different to other villages close to the Gobi desert. The only source of water is groundwater, which is undrinkable because of the high amount of salt.
China’s desertification has forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave their homes.
As drought hits hard, many villagers migrate to bigger cities in hope of better future and livelihood. Homes are abandoned and only the old are left in the villages. It feels like time has halted in this place, as silence takes over and the sand slowly encroaches on their dreams and engulfs their lands.
Published: 09-02-2019 12:48