Sichuan capital to boost pollution controls, attract foreign workers
Chengdu will continue to strive to ensure good air quality, the mayor of the southwestern metropolis, Luo Qiang, has pledged.
The city recorded 235 goodair days last year, 21 days more than that in 2016, according to data shared by Luo on the sidelines of the ongoing National People's Congress. He is a deputy to the top legislature.[Special coverage]
Data also show that the annual average concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 - tiny pollutant particles that damage the lungs - also fell in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, by 13.7 percent and 10.2 percent respectively year-on-year in 2017.
"Over the past year, we focused on air pollution and improving air quality, and worked hard to safeguard the city's blue skies," Luo said.
To this end, he pointed out that 889 coal-fired boilers and 23,900 outdated high-emissions vehicles were decommissioned in the city over the past year. Meanwhile, almost 4,000 restaurants have switched from coal to gas or electricity.
The city has been implementing a four-year action plan to control air pollution since 2014.
As of December, the annual average concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 had decreased by 41.3 and 42.3 percent respectively compared with the 2013 levels.
By the end of last year, 281 companies on the Global Fortune 500 list had bases in Chengdu, including 199 overseas enterprises.
The city has also attracted 51 investment projects from the world's top 500 companies, with total investment reaching 104.05 billion yuan (.5 billion) by the end of 2017, according to local media reports.
Data from the Chengdu public security bureau also show the city had 17,411 permanent foreign residents as of February.
Chengdu will "cut overcapacity, promote the transformation and upgrading of industries, and resolutely reject the method to develop the economy by sacrificing the environment and wasting resources", Luo said.
Luo said the local government will further implement its innovation-driven development strategy and promote "mass innovation and entrepreneurship".
Chengdu released a 12-point New Deal for Talents last year aimed at attracting more high-skilled people from home and abroad.
The plan includes preferential policies such as supporting startups, solving housing issues and simplifying the procedures for skilled workers from overseas to stay in the city.
The city has established 16 overseas offshore talent innovation and entrepreneurship centers worldwide to help attract highly skilled foreigners.