China Goes Car-Free - For A Day


Good news for anyone struggling to breathe China's urban air! You can look forward to next September 22nd, when for a day the Middle Kingdom will put the brakes on its love affair with the automobile. For the first time, the national government is getting behind World Carfree Day. In proper Chinese fashion, China's first official urban car-free day will be big: more than 100 Chinese cities are slated to take part, including Beijing and (recent auto show host) Shanghai. Officials will be made to trade their trademark black sedans for public transport, and some roads will be closed to private cars.Last year, China became the world's second largest car market and its third largest car producer after the US and Japan. This year, the automobile production sector is expected to expand by 15-20%. And everyday 1000 new private cars hit the gridlocked streets of Beijing. Personally, I'm marking my calendar and looking forward to one day of truly blue skies and not having to wish for a gas mask. The Financial Times reports that when Beijing ordered 800,000 cars off the road during November's Sino-Africa Summit - out of a total of 2.8 million - local nitrogen oxide pollution plummeted by 40%. The effect of this limited car cut-down was observed by a NASA satellite. ::Financial Times

See also ::Beijing's "No Car Days", ::China's Cars Come in Green: Dispatch from the Shanghai Auto Show, ::China's Automotive Era Kicks Into High Gear, ::China: Keep Them Pigeons Rolling!, ::China's Public Enemy No. 1 (Times 20,000 Per Day)

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