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It's 'No Car Day' in Shanghai, Sept. 22
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The Shanghai Municipal Government is to hold its first "No Car Day" on September 22, following the four-day test held last week in Beijing. Almost a third of the city's vehicles will be ordered off the roads in a bid to improve air quality and ease congestion.


A statement on the city's construction and transportation department website said anyone traveling within the Inner Ring Road area between 7 am and 7 pm on that day will be urged to use public transport or walk.


And in certain areas, such as Lujiazui and parts of Nanjing Road, only public transport and service vehicles will be allowed.


The plan is part of a national campaign to reduce exhaust emissions, which are a major cause of pollution. More than 100 cities will hold a "car-free" day on September 22.


According to official figures, 80 percent of the pollution in Shanghai's downtown area is caused by emissions from vehicles.


In 1994, authorities introduced a plan to limit the number of vehicles on the city's streets by issuing and auctioning special license plates. However, despite the rising cost of the plates - one recently sold for more than 47,000 yuan (US$6,200) - the city has seen its private vehicle population soar.


Authorities said September 22 will from now on be annual no car day, and that every month on that day, workers at the city's transportation department will be banned from using private or company vehicles to commute.


The city is also seeking to amend the law on air pollution to ban all vehicles that emit black smoke.


Xu Jing, a 30-year-old office worker, said she would not drive on September 22. "But other than that, I will continue to use my car, as I have become dependent on it."


The Shanghai government said additional public transports will be provided on September 22, and a number of special events, such as group walks, will be held.


(China Daily August 23, 2007)

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