Italy celebrates Earth Day in country's green areas

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Italy celebrated Earth Day on Thursday with a series of special events including an 'ecological' concert, guided tours in the country's green areas and initiatives aimed at spreading environment awareness.

In Rome 250 middle school students were taken in site-seeing guided tours around the capital's most beautiful parks and natural reserves. The visits, running from Monday to Friday, are organized by the capital's public water distribution company Acea.

"Our goal is to show the children these natural beauties, often closed to the public, and teach them how to contribute to a water- saving approach," Federico Antiniani, organizer of the tours, told Xinhua.

Each student for the occasion was given an excursionist backpack, a flashlight, water bottle, sunglasses, a compass and a biological snack.

Earth Day is just one day, but in order to show the importance of boosting the correct water saving culture to spare the planet's resources, Acea decided to extend the celebrations throughout the entire week.

Five were the prestigious naturalistic areas chosen for the school trips: the ancient Roman Appia waterways, the boat trip along the Tiber River and through its natural reserve, the volcanic Albano lake north of Rome and the Palo Oasis, among the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) protected sites and usually closed to the public. "For the kids it's a great opportunity," said Antiniani.

The students took pictures of their adventures and the best ones will be awarded a special prize.

For the Earth Day celebrations Rome's authorities organized an open-air 'ecological' concert in a most breathtaking and world- famous site: the ancient Roman chariot racing stadium of Circus Maximus. The event was jointly sponsored by the Italian Youth Ministry and the National Geographic Live platform.

The concert was defined as 'ecological' because what is produced in terms of emissions will be compensated by the plantation of 10,000 new square meters of green inside one of the capital's largest parks. The local authorities have decided to adopt a similar approach for all future entertainment and social events.

The city of Milan as well launched an ambitious initiative on Thursday to boost attention on water consumption. In San Babila Square 1,000 recyclable aluminum bottles were distributed to citizens who turned in their empty plastic bottles.

Many green areas across Italy were finally restored to public use on Earth Day. In Naples the authorities inaugurated a newly restyled 20,000 square meters park for the pleasure of citizens.

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