New Beijing City Plan Vows to Improve Air Quality and Cap Population

By Justine Lopez, March 30, 2017

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The Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning released a draft of its long-term development plan on Wednesday. Two of the most crucial focuses of the plan were the population cap and air quality improvements, Reuters reports.

The capital, which is currently home to roughly 22 million people, has vowed to cap its population at 23 million by 2020. According to the draft, the city will also decrease annual averages of PM2.5 to 56 micrograms per cubic meter by 2020. By 2030, Beijing aims to bring the average PM2.5 level down to 35 micrograms per cubic meter. 

The capital will also increase green areas by covering 45 percent of land with forest. 

The integration of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area is also a major component of the plan. According to the draft this will reach a "high level of coordinated development" by the year 2050. Part of this integration effort is already being carried out with the region’s expanding railway service. The city plans to extend urban rail lines by 1,000 kilometers by 2030. 

This new long-term plan, which covers 2016 to 2030, is designed to deal with the congestion and pollution that plague many megacities.  The Chinese capital has high ambitions to become a top global city by 2050. The draft is open to public comment from now until April 27.

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