The Chinese capital has decided to put an end to further expansion of resource-intensive and polluting industries in the city, in an effort to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants.
Beijing local government said in a statement that the city has grown too much.
“Constantly-developing Beijing is now facing a series of problems, including overpopulation, congestion, water shortages and air pollution – these deep-rooted problems are related to the fact that the city has too many functions, and its economy is too big”, it said.
Under new rules, food processing, textile, construction materials, papermaking, chemical and oil refining companies will be prevented from further expanding in the city, in order to cut pollution and congestion.
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Restrictions will also be put in place on new real estate projects, such as large-scale hotels, schools, office buildings and hospitals.
Some industries have already been moved out of town, in the northern Hebei region.
Beijing’s economy grew an estimated 6.5 times from 1998 to 2012, significantly affecting the population and the environment. Smog levels in the city resulted more than 25 times the level considered safe by the World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier this year.
Air and water pollution in particular is a major problem, not only in Beijing but in many other Chinese cities.
The national government is taking a series of measures to reduce pollution and move towards a more sustainable economy, such as stopping new coal-fired power plants in favour of large investment in renewable energy, taking old cars off the roads and updating environmental legislation.
Photo: Michael McDonough via flickr