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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