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Capital Launches Plan to Save Sparse Energy

Energy-hungry Beijing has officially kicked off a conservation-minded program to build a recycling economy.

It will try and use the fewest possible resources to gain a sustainable development.

The municipal government yesterday released a long-term guideline on energy conservation that runs up to 2010, which is the first of its kind in Beijing, a city where 94 per cent of energy is imported from other provinces and regions.

Chai Xiaozhong, vice-director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, said the city would try to reduce its energy consumption in economic development, which is measured by the amount of standard coal consumed in yielding every 10,000 yuan (US$1,200) of gross domestic product (GDP).

Last year, the city used 1.3 tons of standard coal to generate 10,000 yuan of GDP, three times more than that of the United States, said Chai.

The city will cut the figure down to 0.89 ton by 2010, according to the guideline.

And in 2010, the water consumption to yield every 10,000 yuan of GDP will not exceed 53 cubic meters. The figure was 81 cubic meters last year.

To meet these goals, the city will not only work out relevant regulations and educate the public to save energy, but also set up special supervision institutions and subsidize the research and development of energy-saving devices and techniques, said Chai.

"Besides low energy consumption, making full use of resources is another important point to build a recycling economy," said Chai.

He said the city would build three recycled water plants, four garbage disposal factories and four special power plants that use rubbish as fuel this year.

Around 100 kilometers of recycled water pipeline will be laid in the urban areas and the city will use 250 million cubic meters of this moderately treated sewage water this year.

And when the total eight garbage-related plants are built, more than 1.7 million tons of garbage, taking up 40 percent of the city's total garbage produced annually, will be disposed of or burned as fuel rather than being merely buried underground. Meanwhile, 600 million kilowatt-hours of power will be generated through garbage burning annually.

The city will also carry out several recycling programs to reuse old electric appliances, automobiles, tyres, plastics and paper, said Chai.

Zhang Mao, vice-mayor of Beijing, said resources shortage has become a bottleneck for the city's economic development.

He said among the city's energy consumption, 100 percent of natural gas and petroleum, 95 percent of coal, 70 percent of power and 80 percent of gasoline are imported from other provinces and regions.

The city's total energy consumption last year is equal to 51 million tons of standard coal, rising 11.3 percent year-on-year, which is the fastest growth since 2000.

"Transforming the economy into a recycling and sustainable one is vital for the city," said Zhang.

(China Daily June 7, 2005)

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