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Greenways have become a popular holiday destination for locals and visitors to the delta. Qiu Quanlin / China Daily
Pan Dongxiao, a middle-aged man working for a multinational in Guangzhou, has made a habit of driving to the suburbs with his family on the weekends to ride bikes or just walk on the well-maintained greenway.
A greenway is a patch of undeveloped land set aside for recreation.
"The greenway has been a preferred destination for my family to spend the weekend," he said.
"We really enjoy the fresh air, green trees, shrubs and grass, eye-catching scenery and barrier-free roads alongside. We feel relaxed."
He said that his family wants to visit all the greenways throughout the province in the near future.
Pan is among a growing number of people in the Pearl River Delta region who are spending their weekends and holidays on the greenways.
And the provincial government of Guangdong aims to develop a total of 8,770 kilometers of greenways throughout the province by the year 2015.
Greenways were first established in the Pearl River Delta region in 2010, and the region had set up greenways with a total length of 2,372 km by the end of last year.
By that time, a total of 338 post houses had also been installed along the greenways. These facilities include electronic signs and auxiliary services, including mobile phone charging, telecom services, shopping, and medical assistance.
Another 840 km of greenways are slated to go into use within the year in other cities outside the delta region and an additional 1,020 km of greenways will come into use in 2014, according to the overall planning of Guangdong greenway network construction for 2011-2015.
"21st century is a new century, when people move from brown industry to green civilization, and many countries are attaching great importance to the construction of greenways," a provincial leader of Guangdong said.
"Setting up the greenway network in the Pearl River Delta is something that benefits not only the present but also the future, and the move will play an important role in boosting the regional and economic integration in the delta region, improving the environment for living and for business, expanding investments and boosting consumption."
Zheng Fenming, director of the modernization development strategy research institute of the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, said the construction of the greenway network has many benefits.
He said the greenways have improved the living environment for the locals, boosted the development of the tourism industry and helped to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas.
(China Daily 11/10/2012 page16)