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Festival revelers urged to embrace green lifestyle
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He said his office would evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign, and planned to take similar measures in following Spring Festivals.

WWF also worked with popular Web sites in China, such as qq.com and sohu.com, to promote the idea of "Green Spring Festival."

In a message posted on qq.com, a netizen who did not identify himself or herself said he/she would buy less bottled water because it consumes much more resource and energy than tapped water does.

"Environmental protection is everyone's responsibility. I will play less fireworks and firecrackers during the holiday," reads another message.

The sentiment has been echoed by a community in Tianjin City, 120 km east to Beijing.

On the New Year's eve on Sunday, more than 800 households in Mingshida community, Hexi District of Tianjin, did not use fireworks, a thousand-year-old tradition in China that is thought to help drive away evils while bringing good luck, according to a report of People's Daily online version.

"Fireworks can add festive atmosphere. But it also produces a lot of noise, air pollution and injuries. So we try to persuade our neighbors to replace this tradition with other entertainment such as playing games, dancing and organizing a chorus," said 68-year-old Li Yuezhuang.

But it seems that the majority does not agree with Li.

Sanitation employees in Shanghai, China's finance hub, worked through the night to sweep up some 1,200 tonnes of fireworks debris left behind by revelers on Sunday evening as they welcomed the Lunar New Year.

In the national capital Beijing, 69 tonnes of fireworks debris were collected on Sunday evening, 14 tonnes more than the same night last year.

Fireworks had been banned in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai in the early 1990s due to safety concerns. Over the past two years, the ban was loosened to help people enjoy a more festive atmosphere.

According to statistics of the Beijing municipal government, the sales volume of fireworks and firecrackers this year is estimated to be 30 percent more than last year.

"The air pollution caused by fireworks on Sunday evening was quite obvious. I could feel it even on the next day," said Cai, who is spending holiday in his hometown in Henan Province.

"With educational efforts, more and more people are becoming aware of environmental issues. But when it comes to traditions and celebrations, many tend to forget the environmental things," he said.

"It means we still have a lot of work to do to raise public awareness," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2009)

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