Beijing Vice-Mayor Zhang Mao called yesterday for the city to save energy and develop more recyclable resources.
"Waste is obviously there despite the fact that Beijing is a city short of energy," Zhang said yesterday in a report to the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress.
In the past, people only needed to dig three metres deep to reach underground water in Beijing. Today that depth is 19 metres, according to the official.
Beijing is the country's second biggest consumer of energy, out of all the cities in China.
Oil consumption for the average motor vehicle to travel 1 kilometre in is 25 per cent higher in Beijing than in developed countries, according to Zhang.
"A lot of waste is also disposed of with little thought to recycling."
"Government departments should and would take the lead to save energy," he vowed.
This summer, all the municipal government departments turned up the temperature of their air-conditioning in offices by 1C to help relieve the burden on electricity supplies.
"A very strict water resources supervision system will also be adopted in Beijing," Zhang promised.
Technology to save water will be promoted and the construction of water-recycling facilities will be accelerated, according to him.
Irrigation facilities will also be upgraded to save water, he said.
"The municipal government will invest or provide financial assistance to vital energy-saving projects."
Electricity, lighting, heating and refrigeration are areas where renewable energy is needed; this will include solar and geothermal energy.
"Several prototype projects will be built in Beijing," the official said.
Among them are four villages in Pinggu District, which will run on various renewable energy resources.
Meanwhile, the Xuanwu Park will introduce solar energy and geothermal resources for lighting, heating and refrigeration.
Higher prices and heavier taxation are to be enforced in order to promote energy saving, he said.
(China Daily September 9, 2005)