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Wetland Provides Template for Future

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Walking along the southern ring road of Tianjin's Dagang district and looking south, you will see a beautiful scene, where, as a famous poem states, "reeds dance with willows in a green background, and blue waters stretch for tens of miles" - this is Dagang Wetland Park, scheduled to be completed in Tianjin's Binhai New Area in 2012.

Having secured investment of 250 million yuan (US$37 million), the wetland park, which adjoins the Bohai Sea and covers an area of 630,000 square meters, will act as a "green lung" for Tianjin, absorbing carbon dioxide discharged by the city, replacing it with oxygen.

Until recently, however, the area was swampland, scattered with gullies and construction waste.

Dagang is one of China's main petrochemical bases, therefore, as a practical solution to pollution, the city decided to build a wetland park between the petrochemical industry site and the residential area, which was formally started in April 2007.

"Developing Binhai New Area into an eco-friendly district is not only an important strategy for future city development, but also for the well-being of all residents in the area," said Zheng Weiming, vice-director of Binhai New Area.

However, establishing the wetland park is only one part of the plan to create a sustainable city in Binhai New Area.

Under an agreement between the governments of China and Singapore, the countries plan to build Tianjin Eco-City near the Bohai Sea, with an investment of 150 billion yuan, to provide an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly home for around 350,000 people.

Sixty percent of Tianjin's waste will be recycled, and the organic waste will be used as fuel to produce heat and power. The project will also create job opportunities for at least 50 percent of employable residents in the area, according to research released by Mott Macdonald Consultancy.

A new energy-oriented industry chain will also be established in the Bohai Sea Rim district, which is regarded by the government as a major powerhouse in China's further economic development.

A seawater desalination factory owned by the Tianjin division of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) produces 90,000 tons of fresh hot water every day which is used to power turbines, saving 3 million kilowatt-hours annually, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 2,620 tons a year and cutting sulfur dioxide emissions by 8.5 percent over the same period.

China's huge population and rapid growth require inventive as well as sensitive approaches to urban building design, and the establishment of the eco-center will explore how to demonstrate lower carbon emissions in the life of a new city, according to Mott Macdonald's research.

(China Daily November 24, 2010)

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