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Interview: Beijing horticultural expo to draw world attention for green campaign: Seoul city official

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Xinhua

04-28-2019 13:59 BJT

Full coverage: International Horticultural Exhibition

SEOUL, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The 2019 Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition will draw world attention as China's green campaign would be the world's biggest in terms of the scale, the number of participating countries, and the expected number of visitors, an official at the city government of South Korea's capital Seoul said Friday.

"The Beijing expo will become the world's best one considering the period, the scale and the number of participating countries and expected visitors," Moon Gildong, director of the landscape division at the Seoul city government's green bureau, said in an interview with Xinhua.

"Through the expo, China is anticipated to spread an oriental philosophy and culture all around the world," said the director.

The Chinese green campaign, the second of its kind since the first such expo was held in 1999 at the southwestern city of Kunming, will run from April 29 to Oct. 7 in Beijing to exhibit flower, fruit and vegetable farming at the foot of the Great Wall in the capital's Yanqing district.

It will bring together participants from more than 110 countries and international organizations as well as over 120 non-official exhibitors, opening a new chapter in the expo's history with the highest attendance. The exhibitors will present their latest achievements in the 503-hectare expo site.

The 162-day expo was forecast to attract about 16 million visitors from China and abroad with a huge collection of plants, flowers and eye-catching pavilions along with ideas for green development.

"Through horticultural and garden expos, people can directly experience plants, plant industries and plant materials. Through the experiences, people can realize how important growing a tree and taking care of forests are," said the Seoul city official.

"The expo can be an opportunity to help spread green campaigns around the world as participants and visitors are to come back to their home countries with such precious experiences cherished in mind," said the official.

The Seoul city also plans to host its sixth Seoul Garden Show later this year. The past gardening expos focused on restoring a forest park in urban districts, but this year's expo would be concentrated on refurbishing downtown alleys with plants and flowers.

"Seoul city had developed many large-scale forest parks in the past to create green areas... As the city swelled, such space (for forest parks) disappeared... Currently, we are pushing for small projects in alleys led by citizens," said the official.

In 1979, Seoul's farmland and forests accounted for 54.3 percent of the city's total land, but the green areas dropped to 28.4 percent in 2010 in the aftermath of massive urban developments and road constructions, according to the Seoul city data.

The city government launched citizens-led campaign to create more green space, called "Seoul, a Blooming Flower," in 2013, encouraging people to plant trees and flowers in concrete alleys of their communities.

To promote the campaign, the Seoul city government can designate an alley in a district to be decorated with flowers and plants. The city government financially supports the project.

On the contrary, people can ask the city government to support their project to create a green alley in towns. After deliberations, the Seoul city provides necessary support, according to the official who said the citizens-led campaign has created about 180 green alleys.

As part of the green efforts, the Seoullo 7017 opened in 2017. It was built in 1970 as an overpass right in front of the Seoul Station, but it was transformed into the country's first pedestrian walkway built on top of the 939-meter-long overpass where 228 types of flowers and trees are planted in artificial soil.

"The cities of Seoul and Beijing have things in common such as the overcrowding and urbanization. People in these cities really need resting places like forest parks and green spaces. If the Seoul city can share the green efforts with the Beijing city, it would be beneficial to both of us," said the official.

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