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Ambitious Plan Ensures A Greener Beijing

The city of Beijing will invest a record US$6.6 billion, or 4-5 per cent of its gross domestic product during 2003-07, on pollution control and ecological improvement in order to guarantee its successful hosting of a "Green Olympics'' in 2008, said Beijing Mayor Liu Qi Thursday.

Liu made the remarks at the closing ceremony of a three-day 21st Century Forum: Forestry and Environmental Protection, which attracted more than 200 government officials, well-known experts and entrepreneurs from home and abroad.

According to Liu, Beijing has put US$5 billion into projects to control air and waste water pollution and pollution resulting from inadequate garbage treatment facilities since 1998, bringing about a great improvement in environmental quality.

Over the next seven years, Beijing will tighten control of key pollutants and seek sustainable development, Liu said.

Beijing will continue to accelerate readjustment of the structure of urban energy supply and ensure that the major energy source will shift away from coal to low-pollution or clean fuels. At the same time, the city will make maximum use of wind, geothermal and solar energy to provide hot water and make full use of natural lighting to reduce energy consumption in the Olympic Village and competition arenas.

In addition, the city will build 12 sewage treatment plants and adopt more measures to reduce urban domestic refuse.

Liu said that in 2000, the discharge of pollutants from all industrial enterprises in the capital met national standards and the enterprises that caused serious pollution in urban area were asked to stop production or to move to the suburbs.

Beijing has also mapped out an ambitious blueprint to make the city greener by planting trees and grass on a large scale to accelerate natural ecological renewal, the mayor said.

The green urban area of Beijing will reach 45 percent by 2007 from today's 36 percent, with 15 square metres of public green land per capita. On top of this, the forest coverage of mountainous areas will reach 70 percent by 2008, he added.

During the conference, participants engaged in extensive discussions and exchanged views on major issues concerning ecological improvement and environmental protection in China and around the world, said Jiang Zehui, secretary-general of the organizing committee of the event.

Jiang, who is also the vice-chairperson of the Committee of Population, Resources and Environment of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said the Chinese Government will spare no effort to improve the environmental protection. For example, it attaches great importance to ecological improvement and protection of the forests in the western development program.

China also actively participates in international co-operation, conventions and processes concerning forest conservation and environmental protection, she said.

According to her, China has signed 35 bilateral environmental co-operation agreements or memorandums of understanding and 15 environmental co-operation agreements on nuclear security and radiation with 27 countries.

The 21st Century Forum was initiated and was sponsored by the National Committee of the CPPCC, which invited eminent people from home and abroad, and experts and scholars on world megatrends and crucial issues of common concern to mankind. Since 1996, two international conferences of the forum have been held in Beijing.

(China Daily 09/07/2001)

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