20 million people live in Beijing, a literally breathtaking city that has been contending with air quality so bad and “hazardous” that its urban dwellers and visitors have an altered ability to breathe.
So, it is not surprising that pollution was one of the major issues at the current National Party Congress, where China’s new leaders were confirmed. Many Chinese believe the government has been weak, lacking regard for enforcing policies designed to protect the environment.
Cracking Down on Illegal Construction
Behind the attention to the theme finally on the forefront of Chinese politics are the mounting public unrest, criticism, and widespread anger at environmental degradation. In response, Beijing’s government has pledged to improve sewage disposal, garbage treatment, and air quality, as well as crack down on illegal construction, China Daily wrote, citing a three-year plan released on Thursday. In the next three years, China will spend 100 billion Yuan ($16 billion) to rectify, clear, and deal with Beijing’s pollution.
Beijing’s plan includes lying or upgrading 1,290 km (800 miles) of sewage pipeline, building five garbage incineration plants, setting up 47 water recycling plants, and upgrading 20 sewage disposal plants, wrote China Daily. Beijing Mayor Wang Anshan requested that the private sector participate in these investments.
Pushed forward by Mayor Wang Anshun is one of the ongoing issues also now on the plate: a plan initiated April 28, 2013 that admits that illegal construction and land use are fundamental problems in the suburbs of the capital. Thus, efforts to demolish illegal construction will weigh in the campaign. The government will compile a list of illegal buildings for demolition next year, Beijing Deputy Mayor Wang Wei told China Daily. The new system will encourage and implement as the focal point structures built on collectively owned lands.
Improvements with Water Treatment
Improvement of the water and air is being accomplished. Between 2013 to 2015 authorities report that 47 recycling plants for the valuable liquid will be built and 20 sewage treatment plants will be improved, including replacing or repairing about 1,290 kilometres of pipes.
The plans to fight pollution in Beijing are also expected to include the creation of five garbage incinerators in three years in order to eliminate 70% of the city waste, which is now at 16,900 tonnes per day.
Pure Air and Water Are the Essence of Life
Not simply Beijing but most cities in China are suffering due to environmental pollution. Last month, thousands of dead pigs were discovered floating in tributaries of the Huangpu river — 16,000 diseased pig carcasses in Shanghai’s main water sources. Shanghai’s drinking water has been greatly endangered.
It is a happy note to see China’s politicians listening to demands of the public and to witness this turn of the governmental tide for China. Beyond Beijing and Shanghai, Greenpeace East Asia estimates that 320 million people in the country are without access to clean drinking water. A 2011 study by the ministry of environmental protection found that, of 118 cities, 64 had “seriously contaminated” groundwater supplies.
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