Exploding population poses risk

July 25, 2010 | Posted by Stacy

Crowds at the Beijing Railway Station, above, illustrate the challenges posed by the city's growing population.

Research published this week by the Beijing People's Political Consultative Conference gives a sobering report on the risks of the fast-growing population of the capital city, including environmental and social crisises, the Global Times of China reports. The city's population now exceeds 19.72 million people -- which is ten years ahead of government projections. At its current growth rate, the population of Beijing will reach 25 million people by 2020, which is seven million more people than projected. Water scarcity is reported to be the greatest problem in Beijing, which is very arid throughout the year. The increase in population is aided by improved consensus reporting and changes to Beijing's restrictive hukou residential system that allows for the inclusion of the city's migrant residents.

Fact: Each year Beijing has 2.6 billion cubic meters of water available, but consumes 3.6 billion cubic meters, according to new research.

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