Beijing to impose odd-even car ban to combat serious air pollution
Beijing local authorities plan to implement a scheme preventing drivers with odd numbered plates from driving on alternate days
Agence France-Presse in Beijing
Beijing drivers will soon be restricted to using their cars every other day during periods of heavy pollution, Chinese state media reported on Thursday.
The capital is regularly hit by extended bouts of choking, acrid smog, with heavy industries and car use both among the key culprits.
Under the scheme cars with odd and even licence plates will be banned from the city’s roads on alternate days whenever serious air pollution persists for three consecutive days, Xinhua said.
The plan was approved on Wednesday and is set to be implemented by Beijing city authorities, the official news agency reported.
More than a quarter of Beijing’s 20 million people own a car, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper.
Residents have greeted previous odd-even car bans with mixed reactions, with some arguing that the measure should be made permanent and others contending the city’s public transportation infrastructure is insufficient to make up for the increase in use brought about by the ban.
The new rules will be an expansion of current restrictions, under which cars are blocked from Beijing’s streets for one weekday per week, depending on the final digit of their licence plate, with two numbers banned each day.
A four-colour rating system will be used for Beijing’s air quality, with red the worst.
Further details, including fines for those who violate the regulation, were not immediately available.
The plan mirrors a scheme that was rolled out during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and again in 2011.
In an effort to limit the number of vehicles on the road, the city launched a lottery system two years ago for distributing new car licence plates.
China’s booming economy has driven demand so high that as of March, only one in every 80 applicants had a chance of receiving a registration, the newspaper reported.