Building a Beautiful Beijing
In the much-anticipated report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that “building an ecological civilisation is vital to sustain the Chinese nation’s development.” Xi continued: “We must realise that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets and act on this understanding, implement our fundamental national policy of conserving resources and protecting the environment, and cherish the environment as we cherish our own lives. We will adopt a holistic approach to conserving our mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes and grasslands, implement the strictest possible systems for environmental protection, and develop ecofriendly growth models and ways of life. We must pursue a model of sustainable development featuring increased production, higher living standards, and healthy ecosystems. We must continue the Beautiful China initiative to create good working and living environments for our people and play our part in ensuring global ecological security.”
The concept of “building a beautiful China” has touched the hearts of Beijingers, and depicts the splendid prospect of a beautiful home for people living in this ancient capital. The report points out that the measures to effectively solve the prominent environmental problems, including “continuing our campaign to prevent and control air pollution to make our skies blue again,” “speeding up prevention and control of water pollution,” and “strengthening the control of soil pollution and the restoration of polluted soil,” are some of the practical matters that are of vital interest and concern to people in the capital.
In fact, the past five years since the 18th National Congress of the CPC have been a period during which Beijing has carried out the most intensive ecological improvements and made the fastest progress, biggest efforts and greatest achievements. Beijing has strongly promoted ecological improvements in the city and taken a series of measures that have seen great results, including controlling air pollution, improving water quality, alleviating traffic jams, and enhancing urban management.
Beijing is dedicated to building a world-class harmonious and liveable city, and the ecological improvements are a top priority in urban development and construction. In Beijing, green areas that are less than 5,000 square metres large in the Dongcheng and Xicheng districts, and less than 10,000 square metres large in 14 other districts, are called “small and micro green areas of land.” From 2014 to the end of 2016, a total of 158 small and micro green areas of land had been built in the city. It is gratifying that in the context of Beijing’s special action of “improving through relocation and renovation,” the construction of small and micro green areas of land has been greatly accelerated, and 140 small and micro green areas of land covering about 60 hectares have been completed this year. A number of other measures have been taken, such as making use of every available space for afforestation, setting up green areas, and adding threedimensional green areas.
Pinggu District, to the east of Beijing, has always been called an ecological protective screen, with a forest coverage rate of 66.51 percent, the highest of all the districts. It has become the development goal of Pinggu to consolidate its protection achievements and put efforts into increasing the quality of green spaces, and on this basis strive to create green networks in the plains, green screens in the mountainous areas and green scenery in urban areas. Pinggu is now applying to become a national forest district, and 37 out of its 46 indexes have met the standard. The clear waters and lush mountains in Pinggu are already manifesting their ecological and brand value.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection released the list of the first batch of model cities (or counties) for national ecological improvement a few days ago. Yanqing District in Beijing was conferred the title of being one of the Model Cities (or Counties) for National Ecological Improvement. A total of 46 cities and counties across the country have won this honour, and Yanqing is the only district in Beijing that was given this designation. As an ecological conservation area of the capital and an important ecological protective screen in the northwest of Beijing, by the end of August 2017, Yanqing has achieved an average PM2.5 concentration of 52 micrograms per cubic metre, a forest coverage rate of 58.41 percent, and a greening rate of 70.95 percent, and has afforested almost all its deforested hills, wastelands and deserted lowlands. Just as many Beijingers have felt, Beijing’s urban environment is getting better and better, with more and more blue-sky days.
Let’s build a beautiful Beijing together and share a harmonious home. As our city becomes more and more beautiful, our opportunities to thrive will also increase. (