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April 7, 2011

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Unruly crowds tarnish festival

GUCUN Park in Baoshan District will increase volunteers and security guards to maintain order during the ongoing cherry blossom festival, which has almost been ruined by the rude behavior of many visitors.

Tens of thousands of people have visited the park during the Qingming Festival holiday and many climbed onto the fragile cherry trees, picked flowers or branches and left garbage scattered everywhere, Baoshan District government officials said yesterday.

Xu Diyi told Shanghai Daily she visited the park on Tuesday. "I saw at least five people climb onto trees to pose for photographs," she said. "Maybe there were too many people, so they had to do so to make sure they were the only one in the picture."

Some people made wreaths with the branches they picked from the trees, placed it on their head and took pictures "as if they were ancient Greek goddesses," Xu said.

Littering was another problem.

"Sometimes all I could see was empty food packages, waste tissue, paper cups and water bottles," Xu said.

Xu said she had been to Japan three times to see the country's famous cherry blossoms but that she never saw such rude behavior there.

"Japanese often have snacks and drink sake under the cherry trees, but they never leave any waste."

District government officials said the park was not prepared for such a large turnout, therefore there were not enough liter bins in place for the holiday.

Yesterday the park added nearly 100 rubbish bins and hired about 100 public sanitation workers to keep the park clean. More food vendors and portable toilets have also been set up, officials said.

The cherry tree grove covers more than 130,000 square meters and is the largest such orchard in the city. The cherry blossom festival continues until April 20.


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