Giant Sahara Desert Wall Scheme Could Stop Drifting Sands

July 25, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The drifting sands of the world’s deserts constantly creep forward wiping out towns and natural resources and displacing people from their homes. “Dune architect” Magnus Larsson envisions a giant wall constructed from calcified sand dunes enveloping the Sahara Desert to stop the spread of the desert.

The spread of the desert known as, desertification has been described by the UN, as “the greatest environmental challenge of our times” The problem affects nearly 140 countries in central Asia, China and sub-Saharan Africa, which represents about one third of the Earth’s population.

Larsson developed a solution using a barrier constructed from the natural sand dunes that would run nearly 4,000 miles, extending from Mauritania in the west of Africa to Djibouti in the east. Larsson’s unique idea would be constructed from sand dunes seeded with a bacterium called Bacillus pasteurii, which produces a cement-like calcite property.

The giant sand dune wall would be seeded with the bacteria using air borne balloons.

North African nations and China have considered desert wall projects using trees, but Larson said using trees would be problematic, as many poor people in those regions would cut down the trees to use as firewood.

Larsson presented his desert wall project at the TED Global conference that took place this past week in Oxford, England.

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