BEIJING, July 25 China's overgrown and smog-hit
capital Beijing has passed new rules banning the expansion of
polluting and resource-intensive industries, the local
government said on Friday.
In a list of restrictions published on its website
(www.beijing.gov.cn), the municipal government said it would ban
the further expansion of a wide range of industries, including
food processing, textiles, construction materials, papermaking,
chemicals and oil refining.
It said in an accompanying statement that the list had been
drawn up to serve the capital's plans to restructure its economy
and promote integrated development with the neighbouring regions
of Hebei and Tianjin.
Beijing has been under heavy pressure to end its obsession
with industrial growth, which has not only left the city choking
with smog, but also deprived poverty-stricken surrounding
regions of the opportunity to improve their economies.
"Constantly-developing Beijing is now facing a series of
problems, including overpopulation, congestion, water shortages
and air pollution - these deep-rooted problems are related to
the fact that the city has too many functions, and its economy
is too big," the statement said.
The city's economy grew 6.5 times from 1998 to 2012,
researchers have estimated, while its population grew by two
thirds, energy consumption doubled and the number of vehicles on
its road tripled over the period.
Beijing has already been moving hundreds of industrial
enterprises to Hebei to ease pollution and congestion.
It has also started closing down coal-fired power plants
with the aim of cutting average daily air pollution by a third
China is considering plans to create a "super-region" around
Beijing by relocating industries, improving transportation,
breaking down administrative barriers and setting unified
It is also planning to relocate some non-essential
government functions to Hebei and is studying a proposal to
relocate as many as 5 million people outside of the city,
according to local media reports.
The new policy will also impose restrictions on new real
estate projects, including bans on the construction of
large-scale hotels, schools, office buildings and hospitals in
"core districts", the city government said.
Beijing's average readings of tiny airborne particles that
are hazardous to health, known as PM2.5, reached 91.6 micrograms
per cubic metre in the first half of 2014, down 11.2 percent
year on year, data from the Ministry of Environmental Protection
However, seven of the 10 most polluted cities in China over
the period were in neighbouring Hebei.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Ron Popeski)