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'Human-centered' urbanization a way out of smog: experts

Updated: 2013-12-18 17:27
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - Experts say "human-centered" urbanization, a topic raised at a recently concluded conference of China's leaders, may help bring a breath of fresh air to the smog-smothered nation.

A statement from the conference, which ended Friday and was the highest-level conference the Chinese leadership has held on urbanization, offers a path for the nation's future development and a way out of heavy smog, experts have said.

Lingering smog, which covered much of China for several days last month, has raised public concern and prompted the government to take more effective measures to tackle the problem.

Statistics show that 2013 has had the most smoggy days of any year in the last 52 years. Thirteen regions and provinces have recorded historic high pollution levels, with visibility in some parts less than 50 meters.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has blamed the smog on an accumulation of pollutants caused by a combination of adverse weather conditions, vehicle emissions and coal-fired pollution.

The smog and haze are also attributed to population overcrowding and excessive energy consumption from buildings and heavy industry.

Ecological society

The conference statement pins great importance on ecological safety, while also promising to focus on the quality of urbanization and to improve the living standards of urban residents.

The statement has promised the expansion of forests, lakes and wetlands in urban areas and "to make mountains and rivers visible and let people remember the old times," the statement said.

Yi Peng, a researcher from the China Center for Urban Development under the National Development and Reform Commission, said that the "urbanization process should be restrained as a compromise to nature and to leave space for more greenery."

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