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Posted on on August 19th, 2009
by Pincas Jawetz (


Shanghai has made strides in ‘greening’ itself ahead of the Expo 2010,
according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which also called on the Chinese city to continue efforts to decrease its reliance on coal.

“Like many rapidly developing cities, Shanghai faces enormous challenges in
ensuring fresh air, clean water, sustainable energy, efficient transport
and waste reduction for its population,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive

The agency launched a new assessment of actions taken by Shanghai, with a population of 20 million, to organize an environmentally-friendly Expo 2010, expected to be attended by 70 million people.

China’s largest city has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, scaling up investment in environmental protection measures since preparations for the 2010 world fair kicked off in 2000.

Shanghai has developed a green transport system, constructing a world-class 400-kilometre rapid transit network. It is also experimenting with new energy vehicles, including electric buses, hydrogen fuel-cell buses and hybrid buses.

But the UNEP report also expressed concern over Shanghai’s high level of
dependency on coal for electricity, calling for the city to boost the use
of renewable energies, such as solar and wind power.

Additionally, the safe disposal of waste continues to be a challenge, the
assessment pointed out. A more comprehensive strategy is needed for both
the city and the Expo, whose theme will be “Better City, Better Life.”

Event though progress has been made in ensuring safe drinking water, UNEP
said that nitrification of river systems continues to be an obstacle.

“Shanghai is clearly determined to turn its modernization into a green
example for urban development of the future,” Mr. Steiner noted.

UNEP will produce a follow-up report after the city’s Expo ends on 31
October 2010.

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