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A Green Start
The world's largest horticultural expo promotes ecological progress
By Wang Hairong  ·  2019-04-30  ·   Source: NO.19 MAY 9, 2019
An evening gala is staged for the opening ceremony of the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 Beijing in Yanqing District of Beijing on April 28 (XINHUA)

The International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 lifted its veil and opened its door to visitors in Beijing on April 29.

Launched with a breathtaking evening gala the night before, the expo site was filled with lights that lined tree canopies and building contours, while songs and dances embodying green ideas and the cultures of China and other participating countries fascinated the audience. The performance, staged on a gigantic LED waterside arena, culminated with a dazzling fireworks show.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony, delivering a speech and declaring the expo's opening.

The International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 lifted its veil and opened its door to visitors in Beijing on April 29.

Launched with a breathtaking evening gala the night before, the expo site was filled with lights that lined tree canopies and building contours, while songs and dances embodying green ideas and the cultures of China and other participating countries fascinated the audience. The performance, staged on a gigantic LED waterside arena, culminated with a dazzling fireworks show.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony, delivering a speech and declaring the expo's opening.

The 162-day Beijing expo is the world's largest international horticultural exhibition, drawing participants from 110 countries and international organizations.

It brings together more countries from the horticultural industry than any past expo, said Bernard Oosterom, President of the International Association of Horticultural Producers, at the ceremony.

The expo, themed Live Green, Live Better, not only features a wide collection of flora and horticultural techniques, but also green development ideas. It aspires to promote harmony between humans and nature and champion a low-carbon and environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

In his speech, Xi expressed his hope that the green development concept embodied by the expo park would be spread to every corner of the world.

Performers interact with visitors at the German Garden in the International Pavilion at the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 in Beijing on April 29 (WEI YAO)
Green message

The history of human civilization shows that a sound ecological environment promotes the flourishing of civilizations, whereas ecological deterioration leads to their decline, Xi said. Industrialization has created unprecedented material wealth but also inflicted irreparable harm to the environment, he added.

"The development model of killing the hens for eggs and draining the lakes for fish is at a dead end," he said, emphasizing that future development should be environmentally friendly.

Promoting ecological progress is now a national strategy of China.

"China's ecological civilization development is on a fast track. People will live in a better environment with blue skies, green mountains and clear water," Xi said.

Last year, China upgraded its energy and transportation structures to better reduce air pollution, according to the government work report delivered to the National People's Congress, the top legislature of the country, in March. For instance, in north China, coal has been steadily replaced with cleaner energy sources such as natural gas and electricity.

The report also said that a system of river chiefs and lake chiefs has been set up across the country to tackle surface water pollution. The country reduced the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, strengthened inspections and law enforcement for environmental protection and took active steps to mitigate climate change.

In 2019, China aims to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 3 percent while continuing to decrease the density of PM2.5, a major particle pollutant, in key locations such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta region and the Fenhe-Weihe River Plain area.

At the opening ceremony of the Beijing expo, Xi also put forward a five-point initiative for the future: pursuing harmony between humans and nature, prosperity based on green development, a passion for lifestyles based on caring for nature, a scientific spirit of ecological governance, and joint efforts to tackle environmental challenges.
Plant statues of the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 mascots welcome visitors in Beijing on April 29 (WEI YAO)

Sharing responsibility

While protecting its own environment, China has also contributed to global environmental protection.

Data from NASA satellites revealed that China, together with India, are the leading contributors to the increase in land greening, with China alone contributing at least 25 percent of all newly added global green leaf area between 2000 and 2017.

The study, published in February, revealed that 42 percent of China's "outsized contribution" to the global greening trend comes from its programs to conserve and expand forests, while another 32 percent of it comes from intensive cultivation of food crops, whereby a field is replanted several times a year.

In the past decades, China has endeavored to reduce soil erosion and air pollution as well as combat climate change through planting trees.

Since 1979, it has mobilized its people annually to voluntarily plant trees on Tree Planting Day, which falls on March 12. In addition, many large-scale government programs have been launched to green the country, including a program to convert farmlands back into forests, and afforestation programs to control sand sources, break wind, protect wildlife and produce fast-growing and high-yielding timber.

China also accounted for more than half of the total reduction in the use of ozone-depleting substances by developing countries, contributing the biggest share to the global reduction of these substances.

In his speech, Xi called for joint actions to tackle global environmental challenges. The Earth is the only home on which all humanity lives, and in the face of global environmental challenges, human beings are a community of shared destiny, Xi said.

"Only with concerted efforts can we effectively deal with global environmental issues such as climate change, marine pollution and biological protection, and achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals," he said.

Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo

Comments to wanghairong@bjreview.com

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