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Global Ideas

Greening Egypt's desert

Treated waste water is being used to nourish certain tree species in several places in the desert in Egypt. That's creating new jobs as well as preventing further desertification.

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Project goals: Sustainable forestry, fight desertification, create jobs
Project type: Planting trees with the help of treated waste water
Project size: A pilot study on 2,000 hectares of desert land across the country. A total of 500,000 hectares are meant to be planted.

It may look like a Fata Morgana but the forests shimmering in the midst of Egypt's dry deserts are certainly real. They're irrigated with waste water from treatment plants. That helps to preserve the dwindling resources of drinking water in the country. At the same time, the nutrient-rich waste water is being put to good use by helping to water plants such as African mahogany, eucalyptus, jatropha and sisal. The experiment has taken off in 24 places in Egypt where entire forests have arisen from the sandy grounds. That doesn't just create much-needed green in the barren places, but also jobs. Indeed, the desert holds huge economic potential.

A film by Florian Nusch

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