Beijing plans 'ventilation corridors' to improve air quality

BEIJING • The Chinese capital is planning a network of so-called "ventilation corridors" to improve air quality.

It involves connecting the city's parks, rivers and lakes, highways with their green belts, as well as having more low-rise buildings.

Construction in the zones will be strictly controlled and obstacles to air flow will be removed over time, Xinhua news agency cited Mr Wang Fei, deputy head of Beijing's urban planning committee, as saying.

There will be five large corridors that will be more than 500m wide and several smaller ones, Xinhua said, without giving a timeframe for the project.

The five corridors will run from the northern suburban areas to the south.

One corridor will run through the central axis of Beijing from Taiping Suburban Park in the north, via the Olympic Park and the Temple of Heaven, all the way to the Beijing-Shanghai Highway in the southern end of the city.

The so-called "ventilation corridors" have been created in Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Fuzhou.

IMPROVING WIND FLOW

Ventilation corridors can improve wind flow through a city so that wind can blow away heat and pollutants.

MR WANG FEI, deputy head of Beijing's urban planning committee.

"Ventilation corridors can improve wind flow through a city so that wind can blow away heat and pollutants, relieving urban heat island effect and air pollution," Mr Wang added.

Pollution is a sensitive topic in China, spurring public protests every year about environmental degradation, particularly from factories.

For Beijing and its surroundings, the government has set a target for 2020 of reducing pollution by 40 per cent from 2013 levels. A senior environment official said on Friday that the city's air quality has improved over the last two years.

Beijing frequently features near the top of the list of China's most polluted cities as emissions from vehicles and heavy industry combine with weather conditions to raise smog levels. The worst bouts of air pollution tend to coincide with periods of low wind.

Beijing will close 2,500 small polluting firms this year as part of efforts to combat pollution, Xinhua reported last month.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2016, with the headline 'Beijing plans 'ventilation corridors' to improve air quality'. Print Edition | Subscribe