The city can breath now?! I don't think so...
Today is the first day (out fo 4) that almost half the private cars on the road (sources say around 1.3 million). Here’s an official news story on the event from the China Daily (the English newspaper here). We heard abour the prospective ban a month ago and I wrote about it here, although I thought it was going to be for a full 2 weeks. So how 4 days is going to make a real impact is anyone’s guess. The authorities claim that they are testing pollution levels and hope this reduction in cars will improve the pollution problems. They will be having “air quality measuring stations” throughout the city. O.k.., riiigghht… Well, let me tell you this - it won’t work. This is nothing but a chabuduo cheap-ass attempt at trying to reduce pollution. It will fail. I drove to work today (yes, I have an odd number plate, so I’m “allowed”). The traffic wasn’t much different! There was the usual (albeit slightly reduced) congestion at the usual intersections. The usual idiot drivers are on the road. Today is as hazy as any other day. I did notice that it seems people are actually following the rule too - I saw maybe one or two “unauthorized” cars on the roads (plates ending in an even number). So it isn’t like people aren’t following the rule. Maybe people have two cars at home, one odd and one even? Nah, probably not (just the few elite I guess) Yes, it is the first day - thanks for pointing that out! I’ll be checking on Monday - the final day of this “test” to see if the air quality improves. Yes, I’ve got all the scientific sensors / equipment I need - my lungs. Here’s my suggestions for reducing pollution:
- Curb car sales by adopting plate auction systems similar to Singapore and Shanghai - to make it really expensive to get your brand spanking new car licensed! Yes, this will only slow down the number of new cars on the road (which is currently around 1000 new cars a day!!) (Remember, this city was built for rickshaws and bicycles - not cars.)
- Add congestion zones in the city, similar to Singapore and London, where people are charged automatically for driving in the city - I propose making this all of inside-2nd ring road and for certain parts of inside 3rd ring road. If people really want to drive, then they pay extra - I think that’s fair.
- Increase speed in the subway building projects. Add a few extra hundred thousand guys on it!
- Stop allowing people to use coal to heat their homes and cook food - coal is still being used in the city, especially in the winter. Modernize the city!! Add natural gas everywhere!
- Add really big fans around the city perimeter to ventilate it - much like a computer. OK, this one may not be very realistic.
- Educate the people that polluting is bad. Littering, dumping in the rivers/moats, uncontrolled emissions - nobody knows anything. Hire some wizard marketing/propaganda people and get the citizens’ acts together. Adopt Singapore’s policies! Let’s propose the following fines:
- Spitting - 200 RMB
- Littering (throwing trash on ground) - 400 RMB
- Dumping sewage or other harmful materials in rivers or lakes - DeathOnce this is enforced, I think Beijing, and China, will be a nice clean place to live.
Ok, that’s enough of this rant… Comments?