Beijing yesterday released two plans aimed at increasing the use of recycled materials and boosting the city's solid waste-recovery capacity by 2010.
"Beijing will preliminarily set up a framework for the circular economy and become a model resource-saving city for the nation by 2010," said Yao Fei, an official with the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, at a press meeting yesterday.
The circular economy refers to efforts to make better use of recyclable goods in a bid to reduce the capital's demand for material resources.
Yao said rapid economic growth and urbanization had exerted great pressure on Beijing's natural resources and environment.
For example, the city has per-capita water resources of less than 300 tons, about 13 percent of the national average. Its per-capita land resources are less than one sixth the national standard.
Fifty-five percent of the city's rivers are polluted to various degrees, and the amount of inhalable particulate matter in Beijing's air is 42 percent higher than the national standard.
In 2005, the city reused only 10 percent of its waste paper; only 4 percent of retreadable automobile tyres were retreaded; and individual peddlers treated 80 percent of the capital's electronic garbage.
Beijing discharged 1.279 billion cubic meters of wastewater last year, only 53.9 percent of which was treated.
According to the Beijing Circular Economy Development Plan (2006-10), the city will spare no efforts to build the city's capacity for sustainable development by saving more energy and recycling more resources.
The plan calls for more farmland to be irrigated using recycled water and requires 95 percent of the farmland to be equipped with water-saving irrigation devices by 2010.
The municipal government will tighten control over water consumption in public buildings such as hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, carwashes and bathhouses by setting strict water quotas.
Meanwhile, the Beijing Solid Waste Disposal Plan (2006-10) calls for the creation of a standard renewable resources recycling system to cover the whole city by 2010.
Under the plan, the city's waste paper recovery rate is expected to reach 80 percent.
The recovery rate of waste plastic should climb to 60 percent, and 70 per ent of waste tyres will be recovered.
Eighty percent of discarded home appliances are to be recovered, as will 95 percent of waste automobiles.
Based on the standard of one recovery station per every 1,000 to 1,500 households, 2,000 recovery stations, most of them mobile, will be set up in the city by 2010, increasing the availability of recycling of recycling services at the community level.
By 2010, four large garbage disposal plants will be built in each quadrant of the city. The plants will be equipped to burn, compost and bury garbage.
At present, 90 percent of the city's garbage is buried, taking up 327 hectares land. Only 2 percent of the garbage is burned and 8 percent is composted.
By 2010, 40 percent of all garbage will be burnt, 30 percent will be treated and the rest will be buried.
According to the plan, the city will set up a system to adequately dispose of home appliances, with a capacity to dispose of 2.1 million appliances (about 70,000 tons) annually.
(China Daily December 13, 2006)