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Wave of ginkgo fruits is back
Written by 임다경 Im Dakyoung | Published. 2017.11.21 09:49 | Count : 1016
It has been the season of autumn lately, and trees all over Korea are slowly shedding their leaves onto the ground. However, in the case of ginkgo trees, they not only drop yellow leaves but also a countless number of ginkgo fruits.
[Ginkgo fruits on the street]
These falling ginkgo fruits have been a big problem every autumn for people in Korea. This is due to the following reasons. First of all, too many ginkgo fruits fall from each tree. Since ginkgo trees are widely considered and used as good colonnade trees, they are used to line up pathways, and when they drop their fruits simultaneously in the autumn, the fruits cover up the streets and even the roads almost completely. This causes a big problem especially in busy streets, as it is almost impossible for people not to step on those fruits.
Secondly, these ginkgo fruits give off an offensive odor when rotten or squashed because the fruit’s husk contains acid that produces an overpowering smell when exposed to air. This means that stepping on it or leaving it on the streets to rot will make the streets of Korea stink of vomit. The fruits also get stuck onto people’s shoes, making them smell horrible.
Thirdly, it causes danger to stray animals because the gingko fruit contains a poisonous substance that harms the animals. 
Last but not least, when some people choose to walk on roads to avoid the ginkgo fruits, it will make them more prone to car accidents. I conducted a street survey to 12 pedestrians on a street covered with ginkgo fruits near my house about how they felt towards the issue. 11 out of 12 of them replied that they were disgusted by the ginkgo fruits covering the streets and the roads. As it can be seen here, people are certainly not satisfied with the issue currently and the government is doing their best to provide solutions to the issue.
[Doughnut pie chart of street survey results]
One of the solutions the government is providing is the changing of female ginkgo trees to male ginkgo trees. Since the ginkgo fruit is produced and dropped only from the female tree, no fruits will drop if it only male trees were planted along streets and thus, by carrying out this change of trees, lesser or no ginkgo fruits will cover up the streets. This process has recently been planned to happen in Suwon, Gyeonggi from 2018 to 2022 and will cost 36 million Won according to Yonhap news. Although this process might be useful, it requires an enormous amount of money and is hard, since we can’t differentiate a male from a female ginkgo tree until it is around 30 years old.
Another popular solution is to clear off the ginkgo fruits even before they are ripe to drop. This is a less expensive and an easier way to get rid of the odorous ginkgo fruits but this, too, requires many big machines and manpower.
While ginkgo trees might be good colonnade trees with beautiful yellow autumn leaves, they have a big disadvantage of smelly fruits that maybe is impossible to get rid of, after all.


임다경 Im Dakyoung
Seoul Daewang Middle School

임다경 Im Dakyoung  student_reporter@dherald.com

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