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December 8, 2012

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Fallen leaves create golden scenes

SOME streets in other countries feature beautiful views of leaf-covered sidewalks in autumn and winter, but few realize Shanghai offers similar scenes.

Minhang District yesterday said it plans to expand a pilot practice to stop sweeping up fallen leaves to beautify city streets. The idea has received support from residents, including some expatriates.

"The leaves of gingko trees will be left on the streets for about two days while cleaners will still be required to pick up the waste among the leaves," director of the Minhang Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau, surnamed Jiang, told Shanghai Daily.

The practice has also been carried out at Shanghai Binjiang Forest Park in the Pudong New Area and the square in front of Shanghai Concert Hall in Huangpu District.

Yellow gingko tree leaves paint a beautiful picture and pave the roads with a golden blanket. Many streets around the city are lined with gingko trees including Renmin Avenue, near People's Square. But in most cases, sanitary workers sweep up the leaves quickly.

Minhang initially began leaving fallen leaves on streets last month. Jiang said the practice received good feedback, thus they will begin earlier next year and expand it to parks and public squares with gingko trees.

The topic raised great discussion across the city after a photo posted online on Thursday showed a sanitary worker crouching on Xinling Road in Minhang to carefully remove twigs but leave behind the golden leaves on the street.

"I was really moved by the worker because she created a beautiful scene for us," said Wang Yadong, a resident who took the picture and posted it online.

The photo has been reposted more than 1,000 times and the worker has been dubbed the "most beautiful sanitary worker" by some netizens.

Juan Salguero, a 28-year-old civil engineer and a native of Barcelona, Spain, said: "I fully agree that the fallen leaves should be kept because it is so beautiful."

He said it reminded him of his hometown where leaves would also be kept for several days.

"Fallen leaves are extremely beautiful," said Xinzhuang resident Chen Yanjun. "I like the soft feeling when I walk on the street covered with fallen leaves. The sound makes me feel very comfortable."

The leader of the sanitary worker team of Hongxin Sanitation Service Co, surnamed Zhou, said many people including foreigners have come to Xinling Road to take photos of the fallen leaves.

A 300-meter section of the street is lined with gingko trees on both sides.

Zhou said the practice has been welcomed by passers-by and no complaints have been received. Sanitary workers are also happy as it reduces their workload considerably.

However, Jiang said residents must avoid littering to prevent the foliage and waste from blocking drains and sewers. People should also avoid throwing cigarette butts onto leaves because it may start a fire, she said.

Jiang said the leaves would still be swept up on windy days because they can obstruct the vision of drivers.


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