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09:58 Aug 06 2012

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Desertification along Qinghai-Tibet Railway controlled
09:54, August 06, 2012  

The desertification around the world's highest rail system for years has been well controlled, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Touted the "Road to Heaven", half of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was built on areas at an elevation of about 4,000 meters, crossing mountains, ravines, the Gobi Desert and frozen earth, among other hostile environments. It is being threatened by desertification on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as a result of global warming since its operation in 2006.

Sands buried tracks and disrupted train services more than 1,362 times from 1984 to 2002 on the Xining-Golmud section of the railway, which has been operating since 1984.

However, after years of management, the vegetation of the section has been restored, and sand damages almost have disappeared.

Sand proof barrier built along the railway are of various materials, such as rocks, PE net or even hard salt blocks in the Qaidam Basin.

According to Wang Jinchang, a senior engineer with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Co, sand caused great damages to the section from Xining to Golmud in the 1980s when the line was opened. Since 1990s, the railway company has taken measures to seed grass and plant shrubs. As a result, the coverage of vegetation in that region has increased from 2% to 40%. With the same measures taken, the vegetation has been restored in other sections.

In 2006, the section from Golmud to Lhasa was opened. The natural factors of the plateau have been taken full account in the process of design, construction, and maintenance of the railway. The protection of frozen soil has been strengthened and full preparations for sand damage prevention and control has also been made, according to Sun Yongning, vice-general manager of the railway company.

Statistics show that about 443 km of the 1,956-km railway are in areas affected by desertification, including 103 km that lie in seriously desertified areas.

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(Editor:陈丽丹、张茜)

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The 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu (front) views a Buddha statue during an exhibition of Tibet cultural relics returned from overseas in Tibet Museum in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, July 28, 2012. (Xinhua/Chogo)

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