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Baoding tries odd-even scheme in bid to reduce air pollution

Baoding tries odd-even scheme in bid to reduce air pollution
Heavy traffic Thursday thinned out at the same hour Friday in Baoding, Hebei province, when the city began a two-day trial run of an odd-even license plate measure.
Sunday, Nov 17, 2013
China Daily/Asia News Network
By Zheng Jinran

SHUJIAZHUANG, China - One city in China is reviving the odd-even license plate measure to reduce air pollution.

Baoding, Hebei province, which borders Beijing to the northeast, began a trial run of the measure on Friday, the city's environmental protection authority said. The trial will last until Saturday.

Beijing introduced the measure before the 2008 Summer Olympics, but ended it in 2009.

Cars with plates ending in odd numbers were banned within the Second Ring Road from 7 am to 8 pm on Friday. Those with even-numbered plates are not allowed on roads during that timeframe on Saturday. Buses and special-use cars, such as ambulances and police cars, are exempt from the two-day plan. The city wants to see if the number of cars during the two days can be cut in half.

Drivers will be asked to return their cars to their properties if they violate the rule. No fines or punishments will be handed out during the trial run.

"The test run will provide statistics to examine the impact of automobile exhaust on air pollution," said Chen Xintong, head of the publicity department under the Environmental Protection Bureau of Baoding.

There are currently 1.92 million cars in the city, of which 390,000 run in the downtown area.

The air quality index declined from around 300 pmi to around 160 by 4 pm on Friday, falling within light pollution levels, according to real-time statistics from the Ministry of Environmental Protection

Chen said experts in environmental protection will analyse data collected over the two days to help authorities with decisions concerning pollution in the future.

Environmental authorities will also collect suggestions and comments from residents after the trial.

"It has yet to be decided if this is going to be long-term plan," Chen said, adding that, if necessary, the city may implement more trial runs.

Some residents and experts thought the trial would make little difference in air quality and instead would make life more difficult.

Niu Niu, a tutor at Great Wall College at the China University of Geosciences, said: "I saw more people waiting for buses-more crowded and longer queues. There weren't more taxis on the road, so some were probably late for work."

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