The Chinese capital will invest an extra 46.6 billion yuan (US$5.6 billion) over the next three years to battle pollution.
Vice Mayor Wang Guangtao said at a press conference last Friday that Beijing would enjoy air quality comparable to that of most of the world's major cities by the year 2006.
“By then, about 98 percent of a year will be free of air pollution,” said Wang, who is in charge of the city’s environmental work.
“Most of the world’s major cities have restructured their energy consumption patterns to improve their air,” Wang said. “Although late in improving its air quality, Beijing has progressed faster.”
The city has spent 30 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) over the past two years improving the environment, he said.
Official statistics indicate that Beijing’s air content of sulfur dioxide, oxidated nitrogen, floating particles and carbon monoxide have decreased last year by between 7 and 41 percent compared with 1998 figures. More than 70 percent of the days in 2000 were free of heavy air pollution.
Beijing has made it a priority to replace the use of coal with cleaner fuels like natural gas and electricity.
Last year, it installed electricity heating to cover a floor area of 3 million square meters, and heated 50 million square meters through thermo-power plants.
The city has also converted 44,000 sets of tea boilers and cooking stoves, and 6,700 boilers to gas.
More than 1,300 buses have been converted to liquefied petroleum gas. The city’s annual natural gas consumption reached 1 billion cubic meters last year.
More than 75 percent of the energy consumed by the city should be natural gas and electricity by 2007. The treatment rate of urban sewage will jump from the current 49 percent to 90 percent by 2007.
(China Daily 01/15/2001)