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UPDATED: September 10, 2012 NO. 37 SEPTEMBER 13, 2012
Going Green
Nanchang takes steps to achieve low-carbon dreams
By Yu Lintao

Li Xingguo, a villager in Qianfang, said that his family's income has multiplied several times since he began cultivating organic fruit instead of growing crops.

"Qianfang is an epitome of the eco-agriculture development in Nanchang. Eco-agriculture is a necessary part of the city's efforts to realize its low-carbon dream," said Wu Yongming, Director of the Science Department of the Nanchang Agricultural Bureau. "Nanchang is striving to develop eco-agriculture with its own characteristics. Now it has established several such agricultural bases with different functions, including natural rearing, ecological aquaculture and modern agriculture."

"These bases have provided platforms for standardized agricultural production in Nanchang and guided farmers toward the way of ecological farming," Wu added.

In the process, agricultural research institutions help farmers test the soil and give them advice on how to apply fertilizers rationally and reduce farm pollution.

"Applying fertilizers with soil testing is a good way to keep a sound agricultural ecosystem. It will promote resources recycling and the sustainable development of agriculture," said Wu.

To make full use of the agricultural waste and protect the agricultural ecosystem, Nanchang vigorously promotes the use of methane in rural areas.

Official statistics show that at the end of 2011, there were in all about 43,400 methane pits in use in rural areas in Nanchang, which could provide about 180,000 people with their household energy consumption. They could also provide more than 1.1 million tons of organic fertilizer.

"The application of methane pits helps extend the ecological chain. It helps dispose of agricultural waste and produce organic fertilizer; on the other hand, it provides farmers high-quality household energy and increases their income," Wu said. "All these contribute to environmental protection and the efficient utilization of agricultural resources."

Low-carbon life

It is very clear to Nanchang officials that a low-carbon development way is not only limited to economic development, it is deeply involved in and of benefit to the daily life of local residents.

Honggutan New District is a newly developed downtown area in Nanchang. In the process of its development, low-carbon life and energy-efficient buildings were comprehensively taken into consideration. With full urban planning, the new district has a half-hour daily commuting circle with optimized urban layout, shortening the travel time of residents and highly reducing the traffic carbon emission. Architectural utilization of solar energy was promoted in the construction of buildings of many public facilities and residential quarters. Many buildings are equipped with solar-heated water systems and photovoltaic systems.

"The solar energy program has also been expanded to new buildings in NNHIDZ as well as Wanli District, a district mainly focusing on ecotourism," said Liu Hua.

On the streets of Nanchang, people can sometimes see rows of identical bicycles. These bicycles are not for sale but for residents' use for free.

Nanchang has launched the bicycle-sharing program to encourage residents to travel in a low-carbon way. Because it is so convenient, people often choose to rent a bicycle instead of taking a taxi or bus. So far, Nanchang has established more than 80 free bicycle-sharing sites with about 7,500 bicycles.

"I do not need to take a taxi or walk home after getting off the bus anymore since there are free bicycles," said a Nanchang resident surnamed Deng, who lives in Honggutan and works in Nanchang's old downtown area. There is no direct bus from his workplace to his home.

"It is very popular among citizens. It has not only helped to ease the traffic congestion but also contributed a lot to reducing carbon emissions," he said.

In the meantime, public transport operators and government departments are encouraged to use new-energy vehicles such as electric buses and hybrid-electric vehicles. At present, more than 500 such vehicles are in use. Another 500 will be added by the end of this year.

In Nanchang, LED street lamps are widely installed in public places. Statistics from the Nanchang Science and Technology Bureau show, at the end of 2011, about 18,000 energy-efficient LED street lamps were adopted in major avenues while 1 million LED landscape lamps were in use in public venues in the city. In addition, the government also encourages households to use energy-efficient lamps with fiscal subsidies.

"In the old downtown area, infrastructure improvements such as restoring the natural gas pipelines are also underway for the purpose of energy conservation," Liu said.

"Residents can see the tangible benefits that the low-carbon life brings to them. It helps them save money. The air is cleaner and cleaner. Their daily lives are much more convenient," Liu said.

Posters depicting a low-carbon lifestyle are commonly seen at residential quarters in Nanchang and people are proud and happy to talk about their knowledge of low-carbon life which has made the city more dynamic.

International cooperation

For low-carbon development, there is no doubt that Western countries have been at the forefront in green technology and expertise. To speed up its own green economy development, Nanchang has sought wide cooperation with world low-carbon leaders in Britain, Germany, Austria, the United States and other countries.

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