Opinion / Editorials

Ready to take the green road

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-24 07:58

Ready to take the green road

Air pollution: Local governments would not be able to impose restrictions at will on vehicle use due to severe air pollution, according to the third draft of the Air Pollution Control Law. [China Daily]

As air pollution and traffic jams continue to make life difficult in the country, particularly in big cities, many urban residents opted for "green transport" on Tuesday in support of World Car Free Day.

The participation of a higher number of Chinese people in the car-free movement shows their growing environmental consciousness and desire to see a blue sky, which is becoming a luxury for many city residents.

Beijing, known for its traffic snarls and smog, announced an ambitious plan for green transport infrastructure construction on the car-free day. According to Beijing's traffic authorities, the capital will complete its plan to construct facilities for walking and cycling by the end of this year, in which a series of lanes for pedestrians and cyclists will be built and/or modified. The building of a network for pedestrians and cyclists is also expected to be included in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

To ease its ever-worsening traffic problem, Beijing has taken a series of measures in recent years, including lengthening its subway network, opening new public bus routes and offering free bicycle-rental services. The number of people using green transport is expected to reach 70 percent by the yearend and rise to 75 percent by 2020, according to Beijing's traffic authorities.

However, the crippling rush-hour traffic jams and smog in Beijing tell us that more efforts should be made to improve Beijing's road traffic and weather. The shrinking road space for pedestrians and cycle-riders in most cities of China, which used to be known as the Kingdom of Bicycles, also means that the words advocating green traffic should be more concretely turned into action.

Having suffered from worsening traffic jams and air pollution and with growing knowledge of the environment, most Beijing residents will cooperate with the authorities to make the city greener. The problem is whether there are enough basic facilities for them to meet the green needs.

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