A draft plan outlining a greener Beijing will be unveiled on March 29 so the public will have an opportunity to make suggestions.
The Beijing Planning and Land Resources Management Committee said experts led and participated in 38 areas of research to draft the plan, which covers 2016 to 2030. Opinion surveys also have been prepared for it.
The forest coverage throughout the capital has more than tripled from 12.8 percent to 42.3 percent, since China launched a national tree-planting campaign in the early 1980s, according to Beijing municipal authorities. The plan aims to reach more than 45 percent forest coverage and a per capita parkland area of 16.8 square meters by 2030.
The plan would reduce the annual average concentration of PM2.5－fine particulate matter that is harmful to health－in the capital to 56 micrograms per cubic meter by 2020 and 35 micrograms per cubic meter by 2030.
“While it’s difficult to predict the situation by 2030, it can be challenging to bring the PM2.5 concentration down to 56 mcg per cu m by 2020 considering the current situation,” said Ma Zhong, dean of Renmin University of China’s School of the Environment. The average PM2.5 concentration of Beijing last year was 73 mcg per cu m.
He said the aim for 2020 has been included in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei province integration strategy.
Beijing authorities also aim to make 80 percent of commuting in Beijing green by 2030, according to the draft plan. This will be achieved by, among other things, extending the subway lines to 1,000 kilometers by 2020 from the current 574 km and ensuring that 12.6 percent of commutes are done on bicycles by 2030.
Li Xian, deputy director of the Beijing Transportation Research Center, said 30 percent of the commutes in Beijing are for short distances, and bicycles are the best option in those cases.
Bicycles are the most eco-friendly and economic vehicle for commuting and the government should create more favorable conditions for the public to use bicycles, she said.
Beijing Mayor Cai Qi said in February the gross building area of the capital is 2,921 square kilometers. The draft plan aims to reduce the area to 2,860 sq km by 2020 and then to 2,760 sq km by 2030.
People can make a reservation online to read the plan on the Beijing Municipal Planning and Land Resources Management Committee website using an ID card or passport. It will be available until April 27.
Suggestions to the draft plan can be made by sending emails or letters to the committee or leaving messages on the committee website.