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Ljubljana turning degraded areas into green surfaces

STA interview.

Ljubljana turning degraded areas into green surfaces

STA interview.

Ljubljana is focusing on turning degraded areas into green surfaces that are expected to vastly improve the quality of life as the capital is boasting the 2016 Green Capital of Europe title. A local official has told the STA that Ljubljana is exceptionally green, having 542 sq metres of green surface per resident.

Green surfaces influence air temperature and humidity, remove dust particles to help clean the air and also serve as sinks for greenhouse gases, she said, adding that one of the priorities was to constantly plant new trees."

According to Nataša Jazbinšek Seršen of the environment department of the Ljubljana City Municipality, as many as three quarters of the entire Ljubljana area are green, which puts the capital at the very top in Europe in terms of green surfaces per inhabitant. Around 19% of the entire green surface in Ljubljana is located in the urban area, she said, noting that a large number of individual green surfaces in the capital had been protected from development.

Jazbinšek Seršen argues that green surfaces have exceptional importance in improving the quality of life. In addition to serving as recreational and gardening spots, they also have an important role from the aspect of mitigation of climate change, she added.

Green surfaces influence air temperature and humidity, remove dust particles to help clean the air and also serve as sinks for greenhouse gases, she said, adding that one of the priorities was to constantly plant new trees.

The Ljubljana City Municipality pays particular attention to rehabilitating degraded areas. In the last five years, as many as 90 hectares of green surfaces has been gained, and the works on expanding this area will continue, the local official said.

She pointed to the ongoing rehabilitation of an area in the southern borough of Rakova jelša, whose purpose is to connect the city centre with the protected area of Ljubljana Marshes. The project includes a park with a tree alley and recreational surfaces.

Jazbinšek Seršen explained that the area, which is expected to open in June, was difficult to develop because of the marshy soil.

Among other projects as of late, she pointed to the project developing the banks of the Sava River. Six kilometres of walking trails and bicycle paths, two kilometres of horse riding paths and a playground with a climbing wall have so far been built.

The project aims at connecting all walking trails and bicycle paths along the river from its surface to the border with Croatia and encouraging the local and national authorities in Croatia and Serbia to do the same.

The local authorities in Ljubljana are also facing the problem of vandalism, as many trees are being pulled out or damaged during the process. An awareness-raising campaign targeting in particular young people has been launched to help deal with the issue, said Jazbinšek Seršen.

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