China's future sustainable development in light of rapid urbanization in serious doubt: study

Published: Tuesday, November 2, 2010, 17:00 [IST]
 

Beijing, Nov 2 (ANI): The rapid pace of urbanization in China has left cities challenged by air pollution, shortages of energy and water resources, and limited space for growth, according to a report by the Urban China Institute (UCI).

UCI, a new think tank, has examined data from 112 cities across China between 2004 and 2008 to assess their progress toward sustainable development in areas such as environmental impact, resource efficiency and commitment to future sustainability.

According to the China Daily, 112 cities were selected for the study as they were listed as key cities in terms of environmental protection and sustainable development in China's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010).

The study found that while 33 of the cities improved their sustainability and maintained rapid economic growth during the period, the average cities continued to record severe pollution problems and poor energy efficiency,

Despite China dramatically slashing its sulphur dioxide emissions between 2005 and 2008, concentration levels in cities still "remain well above the standards set by the World Health Organization", the report said.

It also stated that most of the cities used more electricity to support their economic growth between 2005 and 2008, although the country recorded a nationwide drop in energy intensity during the same period, the paper said.

The amount of electricity consumed in the 112 cities for each billion Yuan of economic production slightly increased from 144 to 149 gig watt hours during the period, suggesting a heavy reliance on energy-intensive industries. The overall level of resource efficiency in Chinese cities is not only lower than those in developed nations, but also worse than in some cities in other developing countries, such as Mexico, Brazil and India, the report added.

However, China's cities have made significant progress in other areas of the study, including providing basic needs like healthcare, education and living space and also increased their capacity to treat urban sewage, rising from 56 percent in 2005 to 72 percent in 2008.

More than a quarter of the cities have a better spread of urban density than those in developed countries, which helps prevent unchecked growth and avoid excessive reliance on automobiles, it added. (ANI)


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