Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shanghai Expo Shows off China’s Green Technology Effort

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Download Innovative clean technology is the focus of Shanghai Expo 2010.

Solar energy, wind power, and nuclear energy are being promoted to the expected 70 million visitors to the Expo.

Many green technologies, especially energy saving home appliances, are on display which hopefully will benefit the Chinese city’s environment long after the event has closed.

Banyar Kong Janoi has a story from Shanghai.

Shuttle buses running on solar power move people around the giant Expo.

In the Chinese pavilion a film on how to make a city more environmentally friendly is showing.

Wind power, solar and nuclear energy technology are demonstrated to visitors.

A Shanghai resident, Xie Jing-hu, says he has seen changes for the better in his city.

“You see this from the cleaning-up of Suzhou river and the city tree planting program. Natural gas has also replaced coal gas in many areas which is cleaner and more environmentally friendly.”

Shanghai is one of China's most populous cities and one of the world's major ports.

The city's infrastructure and environmental problems include housing shortages and air and water pollution.

Heavy dependence on coal as a source of fuel for both industrial energy and residential heating in Shanghai has resulted in significant air pollution.

Also, a daily flow of approximately four million cubic meters of untreated human waste enters the Huangpu River creating serious water pollution.

But Shanghai resident, Xie Jing-hu, says the government is now putting pressure on industry to be cleaner.

“Factories that do not pay attention to the environmental protection laws are shut down. So now businesses have to solve the pollution problem. Rubbish is recycled to create electricity. We can only expect and we also believe that things will get better.”

According to officials since the Expo opened on May 1, the solar power station inside the zone has generated 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of power.

Water cooling technologies have saved nearly six million kilowatt-hours of power on air conditioning.

Lin Bin is a deputy Director of Jiefang Daily Group, a communist founded newspaper.

“People are concerned about green technology because it’s about their quality of life. But they also think about money. So there needs to be a balance between greenness and economic development.”

China is the world's leading manufacturer of solar panels.

But 95 percent of these are exported.

Dao Thi Thu Hang from Green Generation Network in Vietnam says China is a role model for the region.

“China is very good example of renewable energy development because China has very good policy to support business and other sectors to develop renewable energy. And I know today China is one of the leading countries in clean technology include clean energy.”

Earlier this year, the Chinese government announced over 100 billion US dollars in incentives for solar power businesses.

According to 2007 government figures, about 17 percent of China's electricity comes from renewable sources.

The country makes heavy demands on hydroelectricity with the largest number of dams in the world and more are being planned.

This hydropower is also being imported from neighboring countries such as Burma and Laos.

Nai Tiaung Pakao is a spokesperson for Mon Youth Progressive Organization, which is campaigning to boycott dams projects in Burma.

“It is good that China is planning to produce wind power and solar energy but at the same time, China invests a lot of money in hydropower plants in Burma. These not only destroy the environment but also create human rights abuses. For instance, when China wants to build a dam in Burma many people are forced from their homes. No one listens to their protests and there are no social or environmental assessments done.”

Back at the Shanghai Expo a school teacher from Beijing, Matt Moar, says China needs to play a positive role in reducing green house gases globally.

“Chinese government started on the green energy and green economics. We are very interesting to see what they do because they contribute a lot of pollution and they have not done so far, have not been really cooperative with the talks and green movement so we will see what they put on the spot.”

He said the Chinese green campaign in the Expo is a step forward.

“There are a lot of countries who don’t really know and are not concerned about recycling or new methods of energy. They are expecting a lot of people at the expo so many people will be educated about this.”