Beijing’s population surges 20 mn

July 23rd, 2010 - 11:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 23 (IANS) Beijing’s population has surged more than three percent in the past two years to 19.72 million, a media report said Friday.
The Beijing Municipal People’s Congress released the figures in a report.

Previous estimates predicted that the population would swell to the current level a decade later, China Daily reported on its website.

According to guidelines set by the State Council for the city’s development for 2004-2020, the number of permanent residents should have been capped below 18 million until the end of 2020.

The report shows that 12.46 million people held permanent residence in the capital by the end of 2009. An additional 7.26 million residents were migrant workers.

Beijing’s population had undergone rapid growth in the first four years of the 11th Five-Year Development Plan, officials found after analysing the change in population from 2006-2009.

The massive growth in population has played an important role in the development of the city, but unfortunately it is putting more pressure on its natural resources, say critics.

Wang Jian, a water specialist of the NGO Green SOS, said the current water reserves can only support about half of its residents.

The population growth has put pressure on the public service system.

Wu Shoulun, member of the congress’s research team and a retired professor of Beihang University, said the population explosion has lead to the increase in home prices and costs of education and public transportation.

“My home country has a population of 30 million. It’s not like we can find a seat in subway every time but it has never been so packed and you can always find a place to breath,” said Maya Reid, a Canadaian who commutes to work daily in the metro.

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