More than 200,000 members of Beijing's various driving clubs are
being asked to leave their cars at home on at least one day each
month in a bid to improve the air quality of the capital city.
Over 100 Beijing car clubs jointly launched the campaign on
Monday calling on local drivers not to use their cars for at least
one day every month. The goal of the exercise is to ease traffic
congestion, reduce noise levels and improve the city's air
"I love driving but I'm willing to make my contribution for more
blue sky days in Beijing and for myself," said Lu Chuan, a film
director and a former environmental ambassador who helped raise
public awareness of China's pollution issues.
Lu said he planned to make improvements to his car to make it
more environmentally friendly. He also plans to ride his bicycle
and walk more often in the future.
There are more than 2.6 million vehicles in Beijing and the
number is increasing by more than 1,000 a day, said Du Shaozhong,
deputy head of Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
Motor vehicle emissions are the main cause of the city's air
pollution, Du said. According to research carried out by the
environment department, Beijing's vehicles emit 3,600 tons of
pollutants each day.
Du Shaozhong, deputy head of Beijing
Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau
The "no car day" campaign comes as Beijing attempts to achieve
238 "blue sky days" or days with fairly good air quality this year
-- five days more than last year.
Beijing launched the program called "Defending the Blue Sky" in
1998 when the city had only 100 days of blue skies.
While the city has seen a dramatic increase in the number of
"blue sky days" by moving industry away from the city and
tightening up on vehicle emission standards, it still faces many
challenges to improve its air quality. Most of these relate to air
pollution caused by motor vehicles.
The city has removed 4,000 old buses and 30,000 cabs from
service this year and replaced them with vehicles meeting new, more
rigid state emission standards.
The "no car days" were first introduced by 34 French cities who
jointly launched the world's first "no cars day" on September 22,
(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2006)