"The Chinese are so clean that I haven't seen any bottle or tin along the road," said the Discovery Channel team manager Ekimov Viatcheslav in his room in the Bird Island Hotel.
The 41-year-old Viatcheslav is Guide, Qinghai Province, to supervise his UCI (International Cycling Union) pro cycling team competing at the Tour de Qinghai Lake.
During every stage, the former Olympic gold medallist from Russia would drive his team car to follow the vast peloton.
"I haven't seen any bottle or tin along the road," said the 15-time Tour de France participant with a surprised look, "and I haven't seen anybody throw away rubbish randomly."
It is unlikely that everybody could behave well for protecting the environment, but it is a rare thing to find any waste around the Qinghai Lake, especially during the race.
As one of the most beautiful lake in China, the 4,200 square km Qinghai Lake is located in the northeast of Qinghai-Tibet Plateu. It is not only China's national natural reserve, but also a crucial barrier against the desert spreading from west to east.
According to Wang Yubo, deputy director of the Tour de Qinghai Lake Organizing Committee, cycling is a sport causing no pollution. That's why the government welcomed the event to be held around the precious Qinghai Lake since 2002.
What's more, the tour's organizers took "green" as the most important theme of the race, positively cooperating with many environmental protecting agencies such as China Green Foundation, Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences and China Wildlife Conservation Association.
As one of the largest international cycling event held in Asia, however, the race has to involve hundreds of automobiles and people. The organizing committee faces the challenges of preventing the environment from being damaged during the race.
Everybody involved in the race received a service guide. The first note is "please protect the environment: Do not litter during the face and in the lodging areas, avoid polluting the surrounding areas".
At the first competing day last Saturday, driver Wang Lishan gave every journalist on his media car a plastic bag and asked everybody no to litter outside the car.
On the way, a photographer asked Wang to stop so as to take some pictures. Wang chose to stop on a ground a little bit further rather than on the grassland nearby.
"We cannot leave tire trail on such beautiful grassland," said the rustic driver.
Wang Yubo admitted that Tour de Qinghai Lake could just provide limited functions for protecting the environment. After all, it's only a sport event. But the race has attracted more attentions to the lake. To some extent, it can make more people cherish the natural resource.
(China Daily July 18, 2007)