The smog-pocalyptic Beijing we all know and love may not be that way for much longer. In a new five-year plan released in late September, the Beijing government renewed its vows to clean up the city’s air. As you might have guessed, cleaning up everyone’s favorite smog-filled capital will be a bit pricey.
“According to our initial estimate, during the five year plan period, the total expenditure will be close to 1 trillion yuan [USD$160 billion], of which government spending will be somewhere between 200 and 300 billion yuan.” Said Fang Li, the deputy director of Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau (what a job). The expensive plan is comprised of 84 measures to tackle pollution, including cutting down the city’s car use (again) and raising fines for major polluters (again). We can only hope it’s more effective than last spring’s plan where the Beijing city government, in a effort to crack down on air pollution announced plans to wipe out the city’s barbecue street carts. Or, our personal favorite, blaming the fireworks.
The reasons behind Beijing’s seemingly spontaneous desire to “go green” may not be quite as clean as their air quality goals suggest. Next year, the city will be hosting the 2014 APEC summit. In fact, a waterside complex is already under construction for the event, 50 kilometers away from downtown near the scenic Yanqi Lake. The complex, as well as containing a convention center, a hotel and 12 VIP villas, will also be run with completely clean energy and have all waste water and garbage treated, the South China Morning Post reports.
By Lauren Holdcroft