Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sustainable Civilization Most Often Begins From The Bottom-Up: Chinese Mayor Of City Of 10 Million Pleads 'Do Not Buy Any More Cars!'

"The mayor of one of China’s largest cities has issued an unusual plea to residents in an attempt to reduce mounting pollution and traffic problems – please do not buy any more cars.

Xu Zongheng, mayor of Shenzhen, a metropolis of 10m people just north of Hong Kong, said car ownership was growing far faster than the city’s ability to build roads and was causing heavy air pollution.

“Although I have no legal power to do this, I am asking everyone to not buy cars,” he told a public forum at Shenzhen City Hall this week.

Mr Xu’s unorthodox appeal reflects the huge pressure that China’s larger cities are facing as a result of the explosion in car ownership among the country’s burgeoning middle class.

The number of cars in Shenzhen was likely to increase by around 200,000 this year and car exhaust fumes caused an estimated 70 per cent of the air pollution, he said.

China is already the second- biggest market in the world after the US with 4.3m cars sold last year, and sales grew a further 22 per cent in the first half of this year.

The government has given enthusiastic encouragement to the car industry, which it views as a pillar for the economy over the next two decades.

However, in recent years a number of cities – most notably Beijing, the capital – have begun to suffer heavy congestion and pollution far above World Health Organisation guidelines as a result of cars." ...

Geoff Dyer "Stop buying cars, says Shenzhen mayor" Financial Times July 6, 2007


OECD highlights Chinese pollution

Shenzhen, China.

Photo credit: (c) english.ctrip.com. With thanks.


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