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Hefty Investment Planned to Protect Wetlands near Everest

China plans to invest 14 million yuan (US$1.86 million) to protect the wetlands near Mount Qomolangma (Mount Everest), the world's highest peak, according to an official with Tibet Autonomous Region.

The wetland conservation project has been approved by the National Development and Reform Commission and will be launched next year, Gama, chief of the administration for Mount Qomolangma State-Level Nature Reserve, told Xinhua.

According to the project, 5,900 hectares of natural wetland in the reserve will be sealed off and 4,400 hectares of degraded wetland will be restored.

Observation stations will also be built to monitor the ecology, weather, water and birds in the area.

"The project must serve to protect the wetlands essentially," said Gama. "It will also be significant to the biodiversity of theMount Qomolangma area."

Located at southwestern Tibet that borders Nepal, the Mount Qomolangma State-Level Nature Reserve has an area of 33,000 square kilometers and is rich in animal and plant species.

(Xinhua News Agency November 5, 2007)

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