Beautiful azalea blossoms are seen in southwestern Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. (Photo/CGTN)
(ECNS) -- Unruly tourists have tarnished a sea of azalea blossoms in southwestern Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province.
Visitors flocked to several counties in the prefecture known for scores of species blossoming along its mountainous areas. The beautiful flowers, green grass, imposing mountains and grazing cattle form an idyllic setting.
More than 2,000 tourists and 800 cars arrived at Haikou Pasture in the prefecture's Puge County to enjoy the azaleas, bringing local traffic to a halt.
Some visitors left behind garbage and empty beer bottles near the flowering shrubs. Besides, some plucked the flowers and even uprooted them, which were carried away by trucks.
Photos show some tourists used trees and branches to light an open air barbecue fire.
Azaleas are popular in Chinese culture and known as "the flower for the guest" in Liangshan. The local tourism bureau has organized people to stop tourists from damaging the environment, noting that local azaleas grow on mountains at 2,800 meters above sea level and that the plants can barely survive at lower altitudes.