Beijing now re­pay­ing its green debt

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - TWO UR­BAN VIL­LAGES

in the south­east and north­west cor­ners of Beijing — one that was known for its pol­lut­ing low-end pro­cess­ing in­dus­tries and the other for its poor liv­ing con­di­tions — have been trans­formed into a 710,000-square-me­ter wet­land park and a 290-hectare for­est park. Beijing News com­ments:

The two parks, which are re­spec­tively close to Beijing’s Yizhuang high-tech in­dus­trial zone and Zhong­guan­cun, China’s “sil­i­con val­ley”, are of con­sid­er­able so­cioe­co­nomic value.

The Beijing mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment did not auc­tion the two pieces of land af­ter ac­quir­ing the land-use rights from lo­cal res­i­dents, as many had ex­pected, and in­stead de­vel­oped them into two large pub­lic parks. The for­est park, one of the largest in the cap­i­tal, is be­lieved to di­rectly ben­e­fit more than 200,000 res­i­dents liv­ing nearby.

The Beijing au­thor­i­ties now at­tach more im­por­tance to build­ing city parks than sky­scrapers. They plan to add 600 hectares of new ur­ban green space and build 15 city parks this year, which will see the cap­i­tal’s veg­e­ta­tion cov­er­age ra­tio in­crease to about 50 per­cent.

It is im­por­tant for Beijing to shut down some of the low-end and pol­lut­ing in­dus­tries in or­der to shift its non­cap­i­tal func­tions, as the cen­tral au­thor­i­ties re­quire. To some ex­tent, Beijing is re­pay­ing the “green debt” that it has ac­cu­mu­lated over the past years when it ex­ploited nat­u­ral re­sources to fa­cil­i­tate its fast-paced ur­ban de­vel­op­ment. It is also treat­ing some of the ur­ban diseases it con­tracted in the process, which drove away many of the tal­ents it had made great ef­forts to at­tract.

In­creas­ing the ur­ban green cov­er­age is part of Beijing’s ef­forts to tackle air pol­lu­tion as well as make the city a bet­ter place to live in, which in turn will deepen lo­cal res­i­dents’ sense of be­long­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.