Beijing places environment at top of agenda

Updated: 2015-12-11 07:57

By Hu Yongqi(China Daily)

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Five-year plan focuses on ecology, infrastructure and transportation

In an effort to make Beijing a more pleasant place to live, the city is planning to upgrade the transportation system and improve the environment over the next five years.

The capital's 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) released on Tuesday focuses on several major projects, including infrastructure improvements, a new seat for the Beijing municipal government, further integration with Tianjin and Hebei province, and fostering a cleaner and more comfortable environment for a smog-harassed population.

The plan is based on Beijing's current situation of severe traffic jams, air pollution and development disparity, said Lu Jiehua, professor of sociology at Peking University.

"If properly implemented, it will help build a city with refreshing air and a vital economy," he said.

The plan for integrated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster, released by the central government in March, promotes Beijing as the center for national politics, cultural industries, international exchange and technological innovation.

Over the next five years, Beijing will continue to support innovation and business startups in a bid to give strength to its economy.

The plan addresses overcrowding in the city of more than 21 million permanent residents, with a goal to relocate about 15 percent of its permanent residents, or 1.9 million people, from the six districts of Haidian, Chaoyang, Dongcheng, Xicheng, Shijingshan and Fengtai, to suburban areas to make space for the central government and high-end industries.

Beijing's municipal government also intends to relocate some industries to other cities and some downtown residents to the suburbs in order to reduce population density and create more room for central government departments.

More job opportunities will be created in the suburban areas to attract those who had been employed in downtown areas.

The city will build more highways, subways and intercity rails to connect downtown Beijing with suburban districts and neighboring cities in Hebei and Tianjin. Increased subways lines will be key to easing traffic jams, especially during rush hours, according to the plan. By 2020, the city will have a total length of 900 kilometers of operational subways, an increase of more than 60 percent.

A second international airport is being built in southern Beijing in Daxing district and the neighboring city of Langfang in Hebei province. It is scheduled to open in 2019 and transport 120 million passengers annually by 2050.

When the airport is completed, the Nanyuan Airport, now used for civil and military flights, will be relocated to the Daxing airport, making it the city's second-largest in terms of passenger capacity, following the Beijing Capital International Airport.

The plan also provides for 301 projects over the next five years to create new facilities, repair roads and cultural heritage sites, reduce coal consumption, and build parking lots, entertainment and sports activities, said Lu Yan, director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform.

By 2020, more residents are expected to ride bicycles or drive electric cars to help reduce carbon emissions that cause blanketing smog, especially in winter.

By 2020, PM 2.5, unhealthy particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns, is expected to drop by 15 percent compared to the figure in 2014, Lu said.

A cleaner Beijing will make the city a better co-host of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games with the city of Zhangjiakou in Hebei province in the northeast.

The Yanqing district neighboring Zhangjiakou will pour more funds into clean energy, and will continue to safeguard forests and green areas, Guo Jinlong, Beijing's Party chief, told the news media last month.