“Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty." 

- Albert Einstein

Drop Seeds, Not Bombs: China’s Military Combats Air Pollution

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

Eboy Bolter Looks At China’s New Military Initiative To Plant 60,000 Trees.

Photo by John Cameron

In February 2018, China reassigned over 60,000 soldiers from their posts on the northern border to the mainland, and their new mission: Combatting air pollution.

The regiment intends to plant 32,400 square miles of trees around Beijing, which is approximately the same size as the state of Utah, or the country of Ireland. Both the nation’s police force and a large regiment from the People’s Liberation Army (the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China) have been recruited to tackle the problem.

The overall objective; to increase China’s forest coverage by 2% (from 21per cent to 23) by 2020. Then, to 26 per cent by 2035.

Much of the planting will occur in the Hebei province, which is infamous for producing the smog that coats Beijing. Despite the new posts not being militarily in nature, the members of the armed force support the environmental plan.

The industrial Hebei province suffers largely from air pollution and other northern provinces, especially during the winter months. With 6.66 million hectares of new forest, China can attempt to reduce their challenge their environmental reputation of being the world’s largest polluter. Shockingly, they produce nearly double the amount of carbon dioxide than the U.S., which is the world’s second-biggest polluter.

Beijing’s socio-economic devastation: This air problem has damaged crops, closed schools and forced parts of the affected area to become a standstill. Unsurprisingly, parents are worried about sending their children outside to play due to breathing problems being caused by levels of potentially deadly pollutants, sometimes reaching up to 40 times the recommended exposure limit in Beijing.