Beijing’s transportation infrastructure has greatly improved over the past five years.[Photo/China Daily]
Beijing municipal government has focused its attention on clean energy development, improving water treatment and garbage disposal, and other environmentally friendly initiatives in recent years, said Fang Li, director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
Beijing has invested more than 250 billion yuan ($37 billion) in 133 environmentally focused projects, with an average annual growth rate of 10 percent for funds dedicated to environmental projects in the last five years.
The government aims to improve local peoples’ sense of fulfillment and well-being by promoting the environment protection and development, including solving the problem of air pollution, Fang added.
The capital proposed a Five-Year Clean Air Action Plan (2013-17) to improve air quality by taking measures such as cutting coal consumption and promoting the use of clean energy in the public transport system.
The city saw its average PM2.5 (particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) level lowered to 73 micrograms per cubic meter in 2016, a decrease of 23.7 percent compared with 2013, according to the environmental protection bureau.
This year, Beijing will reduce its coal consumption to less than 7 million metric tons. The coal consumption for industrial production and heating will be cut by 30 percent.
The municipal government plans to spend 18.2 billion yuan this year on stronger pollution-control measures, the Beijing Finance Bureau said. In 2014, the special allocation for air pollution control was 12.9 billion yuan.
The State Council released its Action Plan for Water Pollution Prevention and Control in 2015 to tackle serious water pollution, aiming to intensify government efforts to reduce emissions of pollutants and to protect supplies.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Ministry of Environmental Protection have called for the authorities to cut more than 40 percent of the amount of “black and smelly water” in built-up urban areas in 2016 and totally eliminate it by the end of this year.
To this end, Beijing has taken measures such as sewage interception and sediment dredging, with the aim of maintaining clean and safe water. The city is promoting renovation of black and smelly waterways through drainage recycling and ecological management, among other methods, said Pan Anjun, spokesman of the Beijing Water Authority.
The results of environmental monitoring show that there are more than 140 black and malodorous waterways in Beijing. Of these, 49 have completed renovations; 61 waterways are under construction and 36 have made preparations to start renovation works, according to Pan.
Beijing has taken the lead in China in terms of garbage disposal, said Sun Xinjun, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of City Management.
The construction and reconstruction of 42 facilities and refuse-processing plants has improved the city’s capacity to incinerate garbage, which has now reached 9,800 tons per day. The amount of biochemical treatment has reached 5,400 tons per day, Sun said.
Garbage treatment in Beijing has been transformed from relying on landfills to incineration and biochemical treatment in recent years, Sun added.
The forest coverage rate of Beijing will reach 43 percent this year, according to Wang Chengjun, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.
The city has launched afforestation projects and sand control projects with total investments of 30 billion yuan since 2013. It plans to cover more of the outskirts of Beijing with greenery to form a stronger barricade against pollution.
In the future, parks in the Future Center located in Changping district, Shallow mountain in Shunyi district, Beijing Yanqi Lake Ecological Demonstration Zone and other six parks covering more than 5,000 hectares will be put into operation.
Wang said that urban and suburban residents will then enjoy fresher and cleaner air.