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April 18, 2011

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Plan calls for removal of unsafe billboards

THE city's greenery bureau plans to remove unsafe and illegal landscape lights and electronic billboards from roadside trees to prevent fires and protect the plants.

The Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said it will team up with other environment and commerce watchdogs to step up inspections of landscape lighting and electronic billboards in response to rising safety risks.

The lights and billboards are usually placed on trees by nearby stores with wires entangled in the branches.

Some locals had reported to the greenery bureau that the stores rarely maintain such equipment and they fear fires could start when the trees become overheated.

"The heat and entangling wires also harm the trees," said Zhu Jianguo, a member of the city's top political advisory body.

He visited streets where the practice was common and warned that some billboards were fixed on pine trees, which pose a greater fire risk, especially in winter when the air is very dry.

Reporters found electronic billboards were popular on some commercial streets in Yangpu and Hongkou districts.

The greenery bureau said they have already learned some landscape lighting and billboards could have been installed incorrectly and of substandard quality.

Officials also said they are working on a new landscape lighting regulation with improved safety standards.


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