Shanghai, the largest metropolis in eastern China, is ready to clean up its center by barring heavily polluting motor vehicles from downtown area in peak times.
According to Beijing-based China Daily, the Shanghai traffic authority has announced that it will issue certificates to owners of vehicles which meet the Euro I emission standard from January 20 to February 14.
Beginning on February 15, buses, cars and lorries without the special certificate will be forbidden to enter the city's inner ring elevated roads from 7 AM to 8 PM.
Any driver in the restricted area who fails to show a vehicle emission certificate will be fined 200 yuan (US$25).
From October 1, all motor vehicles that emit pollutants exceeding the Euro I standard will be prohibited access to all the inner-ring roads between 7 AM and 8 PM, the authority said.
A total of 56 service outlets have been set up in the city to accept the certificate applications for vehicles with local license plates.
Vehicles coming from other towns, which will stay in Shanghai for more than a week, are also required to apply for the certificate at one of the 16 road-toll service agents.
The city will set up 23 checkpoints to determine whether vehicles are eligible for the emission certificates.
The traffic authority said they will not give the certificate to heavily polluting vehicles that have been revamped.
According to Sun Jian, vice-director of Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, the bureau will adopt the stricter Euro III standard on vehicle emission in the city next year and probably adhere to the Euro IV standard in 2009.
Air pollution caused by vehicle exhausts has become an increasing problem in Shanghai as car sales have grown steeply in recent years.
It is estimated that the number of automobiles in Shanghai continues to rise by at least 6,000 every month.
Environmental experts expect the latest move to affect about 350,000 motor vehicles, around one-third of Shanghai's approximate 950,000 cars, buses and trucks.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2006)