04/19/2013, 00.00
SINGAPORE

Singapore's botanical garden aims for World Heritage status

The century-old attraction of 74 hectares near the city center could follow in the footsteps of the Royal Gardens in London and the Botanical Garden of Padua. Founded in 1859 during the British colonial rule, each year it has four million visitors. The gardens boast over 30 thousand species and for the director this "meets the criteria" for recognition.

Singapore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The city-state of Singapore, with one of the world's highest population densities, intends to enter its centuries old Botanical Gardens among the World Heritage Sites. The campaign to get the coveted recognition by the United Nations agency dedicated to science and culture started in recent days. If successful, the lush and peaceful garden of 74 acres, located near the city center, will join the Royal Botanic Gardens in London and the Botanical Garden of Padua (Italy) on the prestigious list.

The gardens of Singapore were founded in 1859 by the Agri-Horticultural Society when the territory was still under British colonial rule. The gardens are renowned for cutting-edge techniques in breeding orchids. Over time it has evolved to become one of the most famous and popular attractions of Singapore, to the extent that at least four million visitors - local and foreign tourists from in a city-state of 5.3 million people - cross the threshold the gardens every year.

The Director Nigel Taylor points out that "the Singapore Botanic Gardens perfectly match the criteria for a UNESCO World Heritage Site" and has always been a corner "loved by all citizens from all social and cultural backgrounds." They are home to between 30 thousand different species of plants and trees, as well as a lake with swans and an amphitheater where concerts are held and classical music concerts are offered.

Local authorities have planned a series of public initiatives for 2013, to promote the attraction and increase chances of being accepted by the heads of the UN. Currently the gardens are classified in the "Indicative list" in which each country moves their nominations forward. Singapore has been at the forefront of promoting green policies to try to improve the quality of life in a world characterized by massive urbanization and external dependence - particularly on Malaysia - for essential commodities including water resources. In fact in terms of water and the environment, last year the government promoted a project for full self-sufficiency by 2061 and based on three components: collection of rain water, desalination of water and wastewater recycling.

 

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