When talking about the energy city, we will think about the pollution and environmental destruction caused by the exploitation of the resources.
Liupanshui is a traditional coal producing city in southwest China’s Guizhou province. The city is through a transformation from a fossil energy city to an ecological tourist city. It overcame the environment pollution brought by the coal mining. How did Liupanshui make it? We left for Liupanshui for the answer.
When arrived in Liupanshui on August 6, we felt immediately the cool air as most of the Chinese cities were scorched by high temperatures. Liupanshui’s highest temperature on that day was about 24 degrees Celsius. The city is surrounded by green mountains, with blue sky, white clouds and fresh wind and the streets are very clean.
Two years ago when Wang Xiaoguang came to take his position as secretary of the CPC Liupanshui Municipal Committee, he had never imagined the city would have such a huge change.
“I came here in September 2011. What I saw was grey sky and the yellow Wumeng Mountains covered by loess and corn. I was shocked by the sad scene. I kept thinking how people can live and develop in such a place?”
Liupanshui has great advantage in coal resource with reserves of 80 billion tons, which can be mined for more than 200 years. Wang realized that such unique advantages can’t be abandoned. However, to achieve sustainable development, the city must coordinate the relationship between economic development and environmental protection based on its own characteristics. Led by Wang Xiaoguang, Liupanshui started the urban transformation from the following aspects:
Keep environment protection during the exploitation
Government regulates the coal enterprises to make selective development according to the different kinds of coal resources: stop exploiting a part of the coal resources and leave them to the next generations; the ground ecological protection goes before the coal exploiting; and facilitate the ecological restoration and reconstruction in the rocky desertification areas.
From 2012, the city keeps encouraging farmers to return farmland to forest with a plan which provides subsidies of 500 yuan (70 $) per mu (=0.0667 hectares). The subsidy Liupanshui pays is double of the national standards.
Innovative circular economy mode
Liupanshui is developing the circular economy by comprehensively using the resources in all aspects of coal mining and transforming the coal waste into products.
The waste including coal gangue, coal slime and other low-grade fuels which used to be abandoned during the exploitation usually pollutes the environment. Today, the coal enterprises use the waste as raw materials for power generation, heating and producing cement and new building materials, which not only increases economic benefits, but also avoids secondary pollution and achieves comprehensive and efficient use of resources.
Development of the city transportation
Liupanshui is about 300 kilometers away from Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province. There’s no airport in the city. The new airport will be accomplished in May next year, which can provide the direct lines to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Chengdu. The highway that will connect Liupanshui to Guiyang is scheduled to be opened to traffic on Oct, 1, 2014. By then, the journey time from Liupanshui to Guiyang by car will be shortened from the current four hours to two hours.
Development of tourism by relying on the climate resources
Liupanshui is known as the coolest city in China. The annual average temperature is between 12.3 to 15.2 degrees Celsius. The average temperature of the hottest month in summer is 19.7 degrees Celsius. It has beautiful lakes and mountains. Tourists can enjoy the coolest summer in Liupanshui.
In recent years, Liupanshui has developed Ming Lake Wetland Park and Yeyuhai National Forest Park. The forest park has international marathon tracks, bike tracks, motorcycle tracks and campsites for recreational vehicles, providing an additional leisure experience and fun to tourists.