WASHINGTON, January 19, 2016—China’s efforts to fight air pollution will get a boost from the World Bank through a $100 million loan for a clean heating project in Hebei Province, approved today by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.
Like in other northern provinces, heating in Hebei’s urban areas is provided by district heating systems that have higher fuel efficiency and lower levels of greenhouse gases and pollutant emissions compared to decentralized heating options fueled by coal.
The Hebei Clean Heating Project aims to improve energy efficiency and environmental performance of heating in Chengde, Xingtai and Zhangjiakou municipalities and Pingshan County by expanding and modernizing their heating systems, scaling up heat metering to promote energy efficiency and conservation, utilizing waste heat from power plants and industry, and switching to natural gas where possible.
“The project will help the four heating companies use best practices in district heating and will generate practical experiences and lessons learned that will be shared in Hebei and other northern provinces in China,” said Yuriy Myroshnychenko, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “The project is part of a larger engagement in energy efficiency and air pollution control in the Jing-Jin-Ji Region where the World Bank Group is scaling up support, particularly in Hebei.”
Another $100 million loan approved by the World Bank’s Board today is for the Hubei Jingzhou Historic Town Conservation Project. Jingzhou Municipality, located in south-central Hubei Province, is endowed with rich cultural heritage assets. It has a long and fabled past in Chinese history and many of the well-known episodes in Three Kingdoms, one of the four great classic novels in Chinese literature, took place there.
The project includes a number of conservation activities such as preserving and restoring three heritage sites of national significance: Historic City Wall, Kaiyuan Taoism Temple, and the Xiongjiazhong Graveyard, upgrading the Jingzhou Museum, piloting conservation and regeneration of historical streets, and developing tourist facilities. Dredging of the moat and lakes, improving internal drainage and the sewer network, among others, will enhance the environment in and around Jingzhou’s Historic Town. Improvement of bicycle and pedestrian facilities, public transport and signage systems will make travel to cultural heritage sites easier for both residents and tourists.
“About 600,000 people who live, work, and visit Jingzhou will benefit directly from better preserved heritage sites, improved water environment, and enhanced accessibility,” said Yan F. Zhang, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project. “The project will help Jingzhou bring more jobs and incomes to local residents by better capturing gains from expanded tourism.”
 Jing-Jin-Ji Region is an abbreviation of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integrated region.