Capital moves polluters out of city core
The Chinese capital plans to move a further seven polluting enterprises out of its core urban area this year as part of a drive to improve environmental quality, according to the Beijing Municipal Development and Reform Commission.
The seven heavy polluters, mainly engaged in the production of machine tools, woodcutting and musical instrument production, have all found new facilities in Beijing's outskirts, such as Fangshan, Daxing and Tongzhou districts, said the commission.
According to officials, 130-plus polluting enterprises will move out of the city's core between 2000 and 2005, releasing more than 6 million square metres of land within the Fourth Ring Road.
In the past 20 years, nearly 200 such enterprises have moved out.
The city's relocation of similar enterprises dates back to 1985.
According to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, the relocated enterprises will upgrade their equipment and strengthen pollution control, so they will not pollute their new locations as much as they did their old ones.
Moreover, the new places are mainly located in industrial development zones where the control and treatment of pollution are more advanced, and this may help enterprises reduce pollutant emissions, said Zhuang Shuchun, a bureau official.
The municipal government speeded up the relocation project in 1999 when a series of detailed plans were worked out.
One of the most eye-catching relocation projects is that of Shougang Corp, one of Beijing's biggest polluters.
The steel giant has gradually moved its facilities out of the city and cut its annual steel production.
Environmental guardians predict that through relocation, coal consumption by industries within the Fourth Ring Road will be reduced by 23 per cent by the end of this year compared with those in 1998.
The industrial emission of sulphur dioxide will drop by 5,100 tons in 2004 compared with those of 1998, smoke and dust emissions will reduce 1,400 tons, and waste water discharges will fall by 30 million tons.
According to the Beijing Olympics Action Plan, by 2008 all the factories that cause pollution shall either be moved out of the Fourth Ring Road or shut down.
Within the Fourth Ring Road, only knowledge-intensive services and other service industries, including financing, commodity circulation, post and telecommunications, culture and sports, will be encouraged.
Actually, the relocation of polluting enterprises is only part of the city's efforts to tackle its environmental problems.
With a population of over 13 million, Beijing encourages the use of natural gas to replace traditional fuels like coal, for the purpose of reducing air pollution.
Meanwhile, the city has also made great efforts in curbing vehicles' emission and dust from bare land and construction sites.
For instance, more than 179,000 automobiles were renovated to meet emission standards last year. And the city plans to upgrade its automobile emission standards to Euro III next year, according to the environmental protection bureau.