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Zhengzhou ecological park offers green getaways

China DailyUpdated: April 1, 2019

Xuanyuan Lake Wetland Park offers a pleasant environment for residents in Xinzheng, Henan province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In a small section of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, Li Ke can be seen picking up rubbish. He said he is proud to work in the greenway along the drinking water channels, which carry water to supplement cities in the northern parts of the country.

"In the past, there were no trees planted here, but now many trees are planted along the section, and our main job is to help them grow better and become more beautiful," said the 37-year-old, who is in charge of maintenance work in Zhengzhou's Erqi district.

With eight years of experience doing maintenance work in the city, Li said the cleaning tasks for the section have doubled, requiring him to be more responsible. Cleaning is in the list of work for his team, as it helps to ensure the safety of drinking water in the major diversion project.

The greenway seems to add a new protective net to prevent water from being polluted, said Li, the maintenance worker.

The section is part of a 61.7-kilometer ecological and cultural park along the project route, which has given the local people a more comfortable and greener environment, according to the local government.

The construction of the park - a 200-meter-wide band along each side of the main canal - was started in 2013 in a bid to ensure the safety of drinking water, according to Zhang Yongqiang, director of the urban greening office of the Zhengzhou garden bureau.

The project is designed to move water from the Yangtze River to the central and northern parts of China via a network of channels.

The middle route goes straight north through Zhengzhou, and it is important to keep the canal clean and tidy, Zhang said.

Zhengzhou has invested around 2.4 billion yuan (US$357 million) as of the end of last year for the removal of waste piles, demolition of buildings and preparation of soil for plants, the city said. Most of the construction for the ecological park has been completed.

The park has provided people with a more beautiful and safer living environment, and many people like to run and ride bicycles here, said Zhai Xianghai, deputy director of the Erqi district garden bureau.

Li Haitao, a 36-year-old runner from Zhengzhou, said he prefers running at 6 am and 5 pm, and frequently sees grandparents taking their grandchildren for walks there.

"Running here is comfortable, especially when I see lots of blossoms in spring," Li said.

In addition to the ecological park bordering the project, more greenery has been added along the city's main roads and railways. These green areas have grown to more than 3,400 km since the city's ecological greenway project was set up in 2012.