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Introducing Central Heating in S China

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While central heating is widely offered in the northern part of China during the long winter, the residents living in the south are wondering whether they could also enjoy the same heating system. The issue has come to attention as recent winters have been much colder than expected, the People's Daily reports.

The report explains that the strongest cold front this autumn has swept across much of China's southern regions, causing a sharp drop in temperature in these areas. Southern China is defined as places in the south of the boundary marked by the Qinling Mountain Range and Huaihe River.

Currently, only people living in the north have access to central heating, starting from about the beginning or middle of November, based on weather conditions in different areas. Most residents living in the south heat their homes by using an air conditioner, electronic heater, electronic blanket, stove or charcoal. Only a few upscale communities provide central heating, according to the report.

Insiders point out that some of the traditional heating methods in the countryside tend to trigger carbon monoxide poisoning accidents, while electronic methods usually aggravate a city's heavy energy consumption burden, and are not environmentally friendly.

Wu Hezhi, a delegate of the People's Congress of Hunan Province, handed in a proposal on introducing central heating in China's south region during last March's two sessions (National People's Congress and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference).

"At present, there is not an ideal method for heating in the central Chinese provinces," according to Wei Chunyu, who is the Dean of Architecture Department at Hunan University. He added that a new approach to regional heating is under hot discussion thanks to its convenience and low cost, while admitting that central heating is a more complicated project.

The report also cites some opposing attitudes. One view is that the high operation cost of laying pipelines for heating is not efficient, and that coal reserves in the south are far less than those of the north.

Cold fronts have made an increasingly strong impact globally, including on the south part of China. Perhaps the best example is the famous blizzards and sleet storms in 2008, when the south took the strongest punch.

( October 29, 2010)

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