Chinese cities are speeding up construction of subway lines as the increasing number of vehicles in urban areas has been largely blamed for smog.
Construction of six new subway lines in Beijing is expected to start by the end of this year with a total length of more than 90 km, including downtown lines and lines linking suburban areas with the downtown, according to the railway construction company.
Beijing is going to invest 760 billion yuan in next three years to control pollution, beginning with cutting down the emission of PM 2.5 . This newly announced project aims to reduce four major sources of pollution, including exhaust from 5000 thousand motor vehicles, coal-burning in surrounding areas, sandstorms from the north and local construction dust. Another 85 billion yuan is used to build or upgrade the facilities of disposing garbage and sewage of the city. In addition, 30 billion to support afforestation programs in next three years。
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Currently, there are 17 subway lines running in Beijing with a total length of 456 km. The city's underground network carries approximately 10 million passengers daily on workdays.
The municipal government also plans to construct some plants to use cycle water, banning illegal constructions to modify the environment. Furthermore, Beijing will punish those who violate the rules of emission-reduction more severely。
Apart from big names like Beijing and Shanghai, less populated large cities, such as Nanchang, Changsha, Zhengzhou, Hefei, Nanning, Chongqing, Chengdu and Kunming, are also constructing or operating urban railway lines.
There are 35 Chinese cities engaged in such construction. Some 70 subway lines are currently being built, with a total investment of 800 billion yuan (131.28 billion U.S. dollars). Adding approved subway line construction plans, the spending reaches 1.5 trillion yuan.
As winter is approaching, air pollution has been clearly visible in many regions of China. In an extreme case, dense smog shrouded major cities in northeast China last week, closing schools, highways and airports, with a visibility of less than 10 meters in certain areas.
Beijing is going to invest 760 billion yuan to curb environmental pollution in the next three years, starting from reducing the emissions of pm 2.5 emissions. The newly announced plan is intended to reduce the four major sources of pollution, including emissions of 5 million motor vehicles, coal-burning in surrounding areas, sandstorms from the north and construction dust in the locality. Another 85 billion yuan is used for establishing or upgrading the facilities of municipal waste treatment and sewage treatment. Besides, 30 billion yuan invests to the afforestation program in the next three years。
Experts believe developing urban rail traffic is one of the solutions to help ease the situation, by getting people out of pollution-emitting cars.
In order to improve the environment, the municipal government also plans to build a good number of plants which can use recycled water and to stop illegal construction. In addition, Beijing will punish those people who violate the regulations of emission-reduction more severely。
According to research by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, vehicle exhaust fumes contribute 22.2 percent of PM 2.5 particles in Beijing, exceeding the figure for industrial emissions.
PM 2.5 are airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which can pose health risks.
Lei Xiaoyan, a professor with East China Jiaotong University, said cities which are equivalent to mid-sized cities abroad should develop rail traffic.
In Nanchang, capital of east China's Jiangxi Province, five subway lines are being constructed, with a total length of 168 km, according to Hu Mengda, deputy chief engineer with the city's rail construction company.
Provincial capitals with large populations, such as Nanchang, serve as cores in less developed central and western regions, and rail traffic is necessary there, but smaller cities have to consider whether their population will be large enough to support the operation of the subway lines in the future, said Hu. "For them, a subway is a luxury."