A Chinese city has created a huge artificial desert on its outskirts after a scheme to create a nature park went badly awry. The idea was for a beautiful lake to be built on the outskirts of Zhengzhou City in Henan Province in central China.
In order to create it developers had to tap a natural water source as well as removing hundreds of thousands of tons of sand to make the hole.
But nature did not play along with the plans. The underground water source dried up and the sand began to spread, creating a wasteland of parched and arid earth instead of the green landscape that its creators had in mind.
Other vegetation in the area began to be choked by the drifting sand until all that remained was a Saharan look-a-like. "It is a triumph of central planning where everything that could have gone wrong did," said Sun-Yat Foo.
The artificial desert is not far from the thriving business district of the city, and on windy days, the sand is carried into the centre where it forces pedestrians to wear face masks in order to breathe.
"The pile of sand is now 100 feet high in some places. The local government does not take any protective measures for it at all. During a recent holiday high wind brought flying dust and sand, making it hard for us to open our eyes when we're outdoors. No-one wants to do business around here with this desert on their doorstep," a commercial tenant nearby said sadly.