Villagers in southwestern China are scratching their heads over the county government's decision to paint an entire barren mountainside green. Workers who began spraying paint on Laoshou Mountain last August told villagers they were doing so on orders of the county government but were not told why. Some villagers guessed officials of the surrounding Fumin County, whose office building faces the mountain, were trying to change the area's feng shui! Others speculated it was an unusual attempt at "greening" the area in keeping with calls for more attention to environmental protection. Photographs of the mountain showed the exposed rock covered in an artificial green, the colour of Astroturf looming over houses against a scrubby background. The cost of the paint job is estimated at 470,000 yuan ($60,600). Villagers said that if they had spent this money on actual plants and trees, a far greater area of Barren Mountain would have been restored. Laoshou mountain was quarried for more than two decades but ordered shut recently following complaints from the villagers about the dust and noise.
COMPLIED BY SUBAJAYANTHI B.