Pearl River Delta to ban govt au­tos on bad air days

Draft pro­poses to idle 30 per­cent of ve­hi­cles if smog hits high lev­els

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By QIU QUANLIN in Guangzhou qi­uquan­lin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The use of govern­ment ve­hi­cles in the Pearl River Delta will be re­duced if air qual­ity in the re­gion reaches danger­ous lev­els, ac­cord­ing to an emer­gency draft is­sued by the Guang­dong provin­cial en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion au­thor­ity.

The draft aims to bet­ter tackle air pol­lu­tion fol­low­ing an in­creased use of ve­hi­cles in the Pearl River Delta re­gion, sources with the provin­cial au­thor­ity said.

The au­thor­ity gave two lev­els for se­ri­ous air pol­lu­tion very un­healthy when the air qual­ity in­dex is be­tween 201 and 300 and haz­ardous when the in­dex sur­passes 300.

Un­der the pro­posal, 30 per­cent of govern­ment ve­hi­cles will be kept off roads in the re­gion if the in­dex reaches the haz­ardous level.

If the in­dex reaches the un­healthy level, 15 per­cent of such ve­hi­cles will be sus­pended from use.

The draft, which has been sub­mit­ted to the Pearl River Delta air pol­lu­tion co­or­di­na­tive meet­ing to so­licit opin­ions from its mem­ber cities, is ex­pected to take ef­fect by the end of this year, ac­cord­ing to the provin­cial au­thor­ity.

The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion has de­fined a new air qual­ity in­dex that in­cludes PM2.5 ( par­tic­u­late mat­ter smaller than 2.5 mi­crom­e­ters in di­am­e­ter) and ozone, which many cities in­clud­ing Bei­jing and Guangzhou in Guang­dong prov­ince have adopted.

The in­dex fo­cuses on re­port­ing the daily air qual­ity and health ef­fects peo­ple within an area may suf­fer within a few hours or days.

Ac­cord­ing to the draft, the au­thor­ity will pub­li­cize mea­sures for lo­cal res­i­dents to re­duce health risks if the air of the days in the first half of the year air qual­ity of the Pearl River Delta was

within stan­dards. qual­ity reaches the haz­ardous level. For ex­am­ple, peo­ple will be ad­vised to avoid all phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity out­doors and those with heart or lung dis­ease, the el­derly and chil­dren should re­main in­doors and keep ac­tiv­ity lev­els low, ac­cord­ing to the draft.

The con­struc­tion and de­mo­li­tion of build­ings will also be sus­pended dur­ing the day if the in­dex reaches more than 300 and coal-fired power plants will be or­dered to sus­pend op­er­a­tions by stages.

A re­cent air qual­ity re­port re­leased by the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said for nearly 80 per­cent of the first half of the year, the Pearl River Delta was within air qual­ity stan­dards.

How­ever, the re­port added that the aver­age lev­els of ozone in the delta re­gion ex­ceeded the national level by about 20 per­cent from Jan­uary to June.

A sur­vey con­ducted on Wed­nes­day by lo­cal web­site Dayoo.com found that up to 90 per­cent of re­spon­dents wel­comed ban­ning govern­ment ve­hi­cles if the air qual­ity reached danger­ous lev­els.

How­ever, a large num­ber of re­spon­dents ques­tioned how the emer­gency plan would take ef­fect.

“I don’t know how they cal­cu­late the num­ber of pub­lic ser­vice ve­hi­cles and how the govern­ment su­per­vises the use of them on bad air days,” said a ne­ti­zen named Huang.

The emer­gency draft in the Pearl River Delta fol­lows a sim­i­lar plan in Bei­jing, which also bans some govern­ment ve­hi­cles dur­ing days with heavy pol­lu­tion.

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