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China's pastures, farm areas ravaged by locust plague

07-07-2010 09:54 BJT Special Report:

HOHHOT, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Huge swarms of locusts are ravaging grasslands and farmlands in many parts of China amid the lingering summer heat, and local authorities have resorted to aerial spraying of pesticides to kill the insects.

Authorities in northern Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have monitored locusts which have infested 3.9 million hectares, or 4.5 percent of the region's total area of grasslands, according to the latest figure released by the Department of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (DAAH) of Inner Mongolia.

The hot and dry weather were believed to have triggered the ravaging by the insects, which are harmful to crops and grassland, said Zhang Zhuoran, chief of the vegetation conservation section of the DAAH.

Adding to the problems, the temperature in the region has been three to five degrees Celsius higher than the average during the same period since June, and the precipitation during this period has been 50-90 percent lower than usual in most of the region, Zhang said.

The DAAH has mobilized more than 6,000 people and five planes for locust control, completing nearly 130,000 hectares of pesticide spraying.

Additionally, local herdsmen and government have been participating to clear the spraying area beforehand to ensure no human beings or livestock would be affected by the harmful pesticides, he added.

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