The Beijing municipal administration has recently stepped up efforts to change some people's bad habit of spitting on the ground and will punish those found violating the rules through a high-tech vehicle equipped with monitors, the Beijing News reported Saturday.
The urban administrative authority in the Dongcheng District, one of the capital's downtown areas, has successfully caught nine spitting violators on the street Friday with the assistance of the expensive high-tech vehicle.
One administration leader says his department plans to start a campaign against the bad habit of spitting on the ground in busy and tourist spots in the city.
Spitting violators surrender before the video recording
At 8:00 AM, one guided vehicle from the Dongcheng urban administration drives and parks on the square in front of the busy Beijing Railway Station. When the monitor spots a man spitting on the ground near a lamp post on the square, a staff member calls his team mates to approach the violator and tell him to clean up the spit and pay a fine of 20 yuan, or about US$2.5.
Around 9 o'clock another man is caught by the monitor at the Station entrance. But this time the violator has denied that he spit. So the staff has taken him to the vehicle to watch the video. With proof of the act on tape, the man finally admitted to his violation.
By 6:00 PM there were nine spitting violators caught on the square with assistance of the monitoring vehicle.
Vehicle communicates via satellite
One of the workers running the vehicle, Han Li, says the equipment is worth over one million yuan, or about US$125,000, with three monitors, the main one capable of covering 250 meter long areas. Equipped with a strong light flash, the video recorder also works well at night, using an infrared ray when necessary.
The staff says in the future when the satellite connections become available, the administration will be able to conduct remote surveillance in the city.
Staff admits cost too high
The Dongcheng urban administration team says the electronic monitor has been successfully used for the first time as part of a campaign against spitting habits in the city. Previously violators would not admit to their spiting, so it was hard for staff to fine them without proof or evidence.
With the high-tech monitors in service, implementing penalties is easy, but at a very high cost. It seems impractical to mobilize the expensive vehicle to chase spitting violators. The administration calls on residents and tourists to change their bad habit of spitting on the ground to protect the environment in the capital.
(CRI February 27, 2006)