Business / Green Living

How green will be my city?

(China Daily) Updated: 2013-04-01 07:48

Given that the capital has been shrouded in heavy smog most of the winter, its rivers are polluted and garbage treatment capacity is inadequate, the Beijing municipal government announced on Thursday that a thorough cleanup of its environment is long overdue.

The cleanup drive will target air pollution, sewage, garbage and illegal constructions. Efforts will be made to further reduce the use of coal, monitor vehicular emission more strictly and increase the use of public transport. The municipal government will build 47 more water-recycling plants and upgrade 20 sewage treatment plants, ensuring that the sewage treatment rate reaches 90 percent by 2015. It will also take measures to guarantee that 70 percent of the city's garbage is disposed of either in incinerators or through bio-chemical means.

There is no reason to question the resolve of the Beijing government or the change the cleanup drive will bring about. But how did matters come to such a pass in the first place? The damage that the environment has suffered has not been caused in the short term. Lack of concern for the accumulated effects of environmental hazards, lax regulation and dereliction of duty on the part of watchdogs have all contributed to the deteriorating environment.

That an underpass has been inundated for quite some time seriously inconveniencing pedestrians and the indifference of the municipality in clearing it show how erratic urban management has become.

There is widespread hope that the thorough cleanup drive, which promises to turn the sky blue, water clear and land green will succeed. But even greater efforts will be needed to maintain the post-cleanup and, hopefully, improved environment. For example, the municipal government has to make separation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable garbage at source mandatory, compel residents to reduce waste, tighten supervision to prevent enterprises from not using their wastewater and effluent treatment plants to save money.

The government also has to make urban management more efficient to make sure that all problems are attended to in a swift and effective manner in order to prevent the environmental cleanup's fruits from going to waste.

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