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Green Sand Design

A new product is being touted by its developers as a step forward in the fight against desertification and as a way for farmers and residents to maintain moist soils and encourage plant growth in unforgiving arid desert conditions. The product, DIME sand, is waterproof or hydrophobic sand, developed by coating each grain of the sand in a proprietary nanotechnology coating. The developers say that by laying down a 10 centimeter layer of DIME sand beneath typical desert topsoils, the hydrophobic sand stops water below the root level of plants and maintains a water table, giving vegetation a constant water supply. Traditional watering can be reduced from five to six times a day to one watering. In addition, the sand allows aerobic activity to move upward from the soil but prevents underground desert salinity from passing into the plant roots. The Federal Environment Agency in Germany declared the product ecologically-safe after six months of testing. Additional trials have been ongoing at the United Arab Emirates University since December of 2007. Professor Mohammed Abdel Muhsen Salem said that date palms and foreign grasses have been planted using the sand and "we can see a 25 per cent increase in the roots with hydrophobic sand compared to when just the sweet soil is used. I’m sure it will save up to 35 per cent more water. But we're still testing it."

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