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Grassroots movements

By Chen Meiling and Yang Jun | China Daily | Updated: 2019-03-04 09:53
A densely afforested Wanfeng Lake area, a part of the Xingyi National Geopark in Guizhou province, which is working to balance economic development with ecological conservation.[Photo provided to China Daily]

From greening urban wastelands to fighting the effects of desertification, Guizhou aims to tackle its environmental challenges head on, Chen Meiling and Yang Jun report.

Liu Guoyi, an 87-year-old man from Guizhou province, has voluntarily planted over 10,000 saplings over the last three decades. When someone told him afforestation was "government business", he still decided to contribute in his own way.

After retiring from the Guiyang branch of Sinohydro Bureau 8 Co Ltd in 1988, Liu was hired back by the company to oversee the greening of its Guiyang base. After fulfilling his duties, he turned his focus to the area outside of the base. He often paid for saplings and flowers out of his own pocket to plant, and when more of his colleagues joined him, the area of greenery around the compound doubled in size. He also began planting saplings on stretches of wasteland in other areas of the city on Qianchun Road, Changling South Road and Beijing West Road.

In 2011, Liu discovered a 500-meter long strip of riverside wasteland near Qianchun Road strewn with garbage and leftover construction waste. Then an idea struck him: "This place is near a river, so it's a suitable spot for a green belt."

He removed piles of garbage, dug holes, planted saplings and watered plants. He then spruced up the area with more flowers and grass. The number of trees grew to 3,000 through his efforts, which earned him an award for being a trustworthy and moral citizen in Guizhou in 2014.

In 2015, the 3,000 trees Liu planted needed to be removed during the construction of a flyover. After the developer offered him 30,000 yuan in compensation, Liu decided to move the trees to surrounding communities and forests.

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