150 factories to close so Mickey & Co can get clear skies in Shanghai
The authorities in Shanghai are closing more than 150 factories to ensure Mickey and his friends have blue skies when Disneyland Shanghai opens its doors early next year.
The resort is slated to greet the first visitors in early 2016.
Many of the 153 enterprises near the US$5.5 billion (S$7.7 billion) resort pose a pollution risk, city authorities say.
The high energy consumers come from industries that include textiles, chemicals, steel production, printing, plastics production and chemical engineering.
Around half will be shut down in the first half of next year, said the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information Technology.
"The rest will be closed by the end of next year in an effort to make the zone better serve the needs of Disneyland as well as the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone," its statement added.
Will visitors to Shanghai Disneyland get blue skies? PHOTO: Twitter/@simonting
Though Beijing gets more attention for its foul air, Shanghai has experienced days of off-the-chart pollution levels in recent years.
Air pollution causes nearly one in five deaths in China — and over 4,000 per day — according to Berkeley Earth, a nonprofit that studies climate change and related issues.
Even two years ago, observers were wondering if the upcoming park was destined to be Disney's most polluted, website Quartz.com reported.
The upcoming “industrial relocation” might have happened even without Disneyland’s presence, said regional analyst Liu Xinwei.
Will there be clear skies on the horizon after the "ndustrial relocation"? PHOTO: Twitter/@Intercot
Economic experts said the Shanghai government is using the Disney project to speed up industrial restructuring and to promote the relocation of enterprises with pollution problems.
Shanghai Jiao Tong University economics professor Lu Ming said: "When considering the plan to build the Disney resort, the Shanghai government must have analysed how it would benefit various sectors."
Beijing Institute of Technology economics professor Hu Xingdou said reducing pollution is, to some extent, more meaningful than merely closing or relocating enterprises with pollution problems.
Sources: China Daily, Quartz.com, huanqiu.com, Reuters, Twitter