wechat sharing

Coal Town: Beijing cleans itself of coal heaters, giving the city a breath of fresh air

When we asked old Mr. Qin what he thought of his former coal-fired heater, he put down his steel cup of steaming soup and growled, "Mafan!" A real pain. But Mr. Qin was much more positive about the new electric heater the government had installed in his small one-room den in a dense hutong a fifteen-minute walk from the drum tower. Mr. Qin's new heater came as a part of a local government bid to switch to clean heating energy and eliminate the use of coal within the third ring road. Until recently, most residents living in hutongs used coal heaters that were not only troublesome, but heavy polluters. The old heaters could fill the insides of houses with ash and the air outside with smoke. If owners were not careful, coal heaters could also leak carbon monoxide, a threat that has sickened and killed a number of hutong dwellers. The benefits of switching to electric heaters are obvious: they are safer, cleaner, environmentally friendly and more convenient. The only problem is that electric heaters are expensive and the electricity needed to run them is more expensive than coal. To solve this problem, the government is providing heaters at reduced or no cost to home owners. Because old Mr. Qin has long since retired and has little income, his heater came for free. Now the number of residents using coal is falling rapidly as the initiative, started back in 1999, reaches more and more households. The Gulou and Nanluo Guxiang areas have been almost entirely retrofitted with electric heaters, but outlying neighborhoods from Xuanwu to Shunyi still await the upgrade. Still, Beijing’s air is already cleaner. As we left Mr. Qin's house on a brisk autumn day before Beijing's brutal four-month-long heating season, we asked him perhaps the most important question: was his new electric heater warm enough? "Hot enough, hot enough," Mr. Qin said with a nod. Thomas Talhelm

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

juice by melissa melissa juice life beijing

By: Lisagay -

Melissa McKenna of Juice By Melissa Turns a Passion for...
lt just happened organically, explains Melissa McKenna. You would, of course, expect that the founder of Juice by Melissa would speak this way—and she turned this passion for clean eating and...
Read More
IMG 3945 0

By: Brittneywong -

Wonder Woman: Miriam Hanna Deller
Miriam Hanna Deller is bringing snowboarding to China
Read More
Plumbing Repair 0

By: Anonymous -

Beijing's Best Plumbers
Xunda Xunda is a one-stop center for all your plumbing repair and installation needs. With over 10 years of experience serving Beijing and 40 online shops, Xunda offers professional maintenance...
Read More
pietrayfinal 0

By: Cityweekend -

6 Things to Salivate Over This Weekend
Swiss Dinner + Sunday Brunch + Pies
Read More

Comments

Download App Now
Select your device platform and get download started
Add & Promote an Event
Tell everybody what's going on. FREE.

You've reached the limit of allowed deals. For more information

Contact us

You've reached the limit of allowed housing listing. For more information

Contact us