Published: Saturday 31 October 1998

-- Beijing has adopted a resolution to protect trees which are facing a threat from urban expansion programmes. This is for the first time that a legislative method has been used by the Beijing administration to protect its environment. Till now, the effort was restricted to publicity campaigns and imposition of fines against offenders. Trees which are over 100 years old have been classified as old trees while those which are over 300 years old have been given the status of first-class ancient trees. Trees with special historical significance and rare trees will be classified into a "unique group".

According to the Beijing municipal corporation statistics, in the central areas of the city there are 22,673 trees which are over 100 years old, out of which 3,800 are over 300 years old. The suburbs and surrounding areas have about 40,000 ancient trees. Officials of the Beijing Bureau of Parks and Woods have warned that many of the ancient trees of the city are suffering from heat radiation emanating from surrounding construction sites and worsening air pollution. In Yanqing county in the northern part of Beijing, over 100 gardeners were assigned duty to protect 142 ancient trees.

This legislation is being looked upon as a significant achievement by environmentalists, who have been lobbying the government for a long time to take action to protect the environment.

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