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3 Jan, 2018

World-Class Urban Greenway Slows Pace of Life in Central China’s Wuhan

WUHAN, China, Dec. 29, 2017 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/ — Featuring China’s most intensive relics of ancient Chu culture, most splendid display of classic Chinese poetry and calligraphy, as well as top-level modern art works and sculptures as well as graffiti and three-dimensional street paintings, the second phase of a green belt encircling China’s largest urban lake in the central metropolis of Wuhan opened to public on Dec. 26.

Together with the first phase that was completed last year, the Greenway highlights an eco-friendly urban life. The East Lake, a top-rate scenic spot in China, covers an area of 33 square kilometers, and witnesses the city’s efforts in ecological protection and restoration.

The water quality of the lake has been through its good and bad days. The Institute of Hydrobiology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences has been monitoring its water quality since 1956. According to the records, the lake used to be a heaven for aquatic plants and fish in the 1960s and 70s. However, with sharp increase in waste water and sewage in the 80s, the lake water was rated poor quality by the end of last century.

The city government has since made the efforts to clean the lake. In June, the whole lake has been deemed as suitable for swimming, some part even for direct drinking. Zhang Xiaolin, a senior engineer from the institute, said, “The water quality of the East Lake has reached the best level in past over 40 years. The pollution treatment measures of the lake have reference significance for the whole city, and even other parts of the country.”

In the meantime, the city government proposed to develop an urban ecology based on the East Lake with an encircling greenway as the key.

According to Wuhan East Lake Eco-Tourism Scenic Area Management Committee, The second phase of the East Lake Greenway is 73.28 km long. Together with the first phase, the complete greenway features seven themed landscape trails stretching a total of 101 km. With a variety of views including forests, islands, wetlands and bushes, one can find his or her body and mind at ease.

Wuhan Real Estate Group said the ecological revetment of the lake has been preserved to the utmost extent during the construction. About 20 km of the original plants of the 54-km-long lake bank were kept as it was. Big trees such as oriental planes and metasequoia have been labeled and protected permanently. Use of large machinery was limited during the construction of the Greenway. Bridges and detours were adopted to make room for trees.

“We’ve made great efforts to keep the original ecology of the East Lake,” said Shang Yangang with the real estate group.

In addition to the original trees, another 29,500 trees have been selected and planted alongside the greenway.

Art works are also an integral part of the facility. An international public art park by the lake has become the city’s largest sculpture display area. Graffiti, three-dimensional street paintings and wall paintings also add color to the Greenway.

The second phase of the Greenway, accounting for over two thirds of the total length, was completed on schedule thanks to the efficiency and execution of the local government in design, relocation of original residents and construction.

The East Lake Greenway, which took just two years to be completed, highlights the idea of urban eco-development, which puts ecology on the same footing as economic development.

SOURCE: Wuhan East Lake Eco-Tourism Scenic Area Management Committee