By: Aisha Braima
KHARTOUM (SUDANOW) - The main objective of the First Environmental Conference, currently in session here, is to assess the impact of the various environmental challenges that made Khartoum, Sudan’s national capital, a dusty town though it lies between the two rivers, the Blue Nile and the White Nile.
Falling in the area with scarce rainfall of between 139-159 mm/year, the town falls in the desert and semi desert area, with sandy and sandy desertified soil and clay, but with abundant underground water originating in the Nubian sandy stone basic which is characterized by water accessibility in reasonable quantities, according to a study by the Khartoum State’s Higher Council for Environment. Its temperature in summer rises above 40 degrees centigrade and decreases below 11 degrees in winter with a persistent wind raising dust in winter and autumn with dust suspended overhead for nearly six months each year.
In the past Khartoum had built a green belt stretching south of the city, 10 km away from the southern-most residential quarters of Khartoum. It was planted in 1966 on an area of 7035 feddans (acres). It had helped in protecting the city against the sand encroachment, windstorms and mitigated the wind speed and it had been used as a green area for scientific research and recreation. Regrettably, that belt was leveled in 1991 under the pretext that it was not legally registered among the agricultural lands. Its land was distributed in residential quarters which are now known as Azhary, Salamah and Jabrah South. Irrigated with sewage water, the belt used to absorb large quantities of this water which now became a burden on the environment added to the list of the city's pollutants.
Inspired by this experience, Khartoum State has drawn a plan to build a similar belt which half-encircles the capital for 285 kms long and a width of 200 meters covering an area of 13,571 feddans (acres), with a total cost of about 13 million US dollars.
Chairman of the Higher Council for Environment and Promotion of Urban and Rural Development Major General Omar Nimir said the belt consist of at least 40 rows of acacia trees originally adopted to the site as they are fit for to sop the encroachment of sands.
About one-half of the area of the greenbelt covers Omdurman, the most affected city by the winds and the desert encroachment in north Sudan. The trees of the greenbelt stretch over 140 square km of the length of the belt and over 6,667 feddans (acres) of the three-town Sudanese capital.
Nimir told Sudanow that studies and research on the greenbelt began more than six years ago and the recent Paris climate summit found wide opportunities for provision of funds for planting this greenbelt. It will be executed in four years' time in four phases and benefit 29 villages, including 10 villages in Omdurman and nine villages in Khartoum North and Eastern Nile Locality.
Nimir said the goals of the greenbelt include increasing the green areas, preventing desert encroachment, stopping movement of the sands, raising the environmental awareness, mollifying the atmosphere, standing against the climatic changes, help with carbon absorption, conserving the environmental equilibrium and lowering the temperatures. All this comes in addition to the urban goals which include provision of the basic services to the inhabitants and the villages by which the greenbelt passes and assistance in achieving the food security in Khartoum State plus services of training, scientific research, experiments by researchers and students beside entertainment.
The Minister said the project is composed of several activities, including woods, fruit-bearing trees, livestock breeding, poultries, apiaries and mixed farms. All those projects will be run by solar and biological energies.
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