Beijing is renovating or replacing dilapidated buildings, and sprucing up roads and landscape marred by congestion and pollution as it gets ready to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group (APEC) summit meeting in November.
"In 246 key streets at the APEC venues and across the relevant areas, building exteriors will be renovated and decorated," said Wu Yamei, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Commission of City Administration, at an urban environmental governance briefing on Aug 28.
The APEC meeting will be held on Nov 10-11 at Yanqi Lake in Huairou district, a scenic spot about 50 kilometers northeast of downtown Beijing. US President Barack Obama will join world leaders for the meeting and plans to stay in China for a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov 12 before heading on for an East Asia summit in Myanmar and a G20 meeting in Australia.
China's capital city has been tarnished by years of heavy air pollution, vehicle congested roads and old buildings that seem out of place.
Huairou district has invested more than 1.5 billion yuan ($2.442 million) to tackle environmental problems related to illegal buildings, waste disposal and outdoor advertising, Beijing Daily, a newspaper run by the Beijing municipal government, reported on Aug 26.
In the urban village of Shichang, two months ago a narrow 1,000-meter stretch of road was crowded with stores, making it too difficult for cars to pass through the dirty and dark street.
Authorities closed 44 illegal stores and operations, tearing down some and replacing them with two-story buildings of vintage architecture with white walls and gray tiles, while also upgrading services in the area. Pavilions, street gardens and basketball playgrounds have been built in the village's surrounding areas.
More than 500,000 trees have been planted, according to Beijing Daily.
The 180-hectare Yanqi Lake, literally meaning the "wild geese lake", where the APEC meeting will be held, is a showcase of green development with facilities to host high-end international conferences. Solar panels and other clean-power technology are widely used in the buildings on the islet.
To retain its pristine environment, the burning of highly polluting fuels, including coal, and vehicles with high exhaust emissions have been banned in the area.
A 26.8-kilometer-long sewage channel carries all sewage from the islet to a local plant for treatment. Renovation of the treatment plant is underway and it will be upgraded to clean around 130,000 tons of sewage water every day, increasing the plant's capacity by 60,000 tons
Early in February this year, Beijing released a work plan on the capital city's urban environmental construction. Under the plans, China will revive air-pollution controls enacted for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing as well as in Huairou.
Led by the Capital Civilization Office, a campaign to encourage Beijing's 20 million residents to behave better is also being carried out.
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