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Chinese city begins traffic ban to fight smog
November 18, 2013, 4:51 am

The city of Beijing has also been looking for ways to curb its vehicle-related smog [Xinhua}

The city of Beijing has also been looking for ways to curb its vehicle-related smog [Xinhua}

The city of Lanzhou in northwestern China has imposed a two-month vehicles restriction in efforts to combat rampant pollution plaguing many of the country’s urban centres.

Cars with even or odd license plate numbers will be banned from roads from 7 am to 8 pm on alternate days of the year, the Lanzhou city government said in a statement.

The ban is waived for taxis, police, security and emergency services vehicles.

Chinese authorities have been facing increased pressure to find means to solve the country’s growing pollution problems.

A recent report from the National People’s Congress Environment and Resources Protection Committee warns that if China continues to push its industrialisation and urbanisation drive at its current pace without checks and balances, environmental pollution and ecological degradation may worsen.

China now aims to reduce total vehicle fuel consumption by five per cent or more compared to 2012.

The Asian nation had earlier in July announced that it would allocate over three trillion yuan ($489.3 billion) to combat the growing pollution of the country’s water and environment.

The anti-pollution plan aims to significantly improve air quality by 2017, with PM 2.5 density controlled to around 60 micrograms per cubic metre.

PM 2.5 are airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter which can pose health risks.

In January, PM 2.5 readings in the capital averaged nine times the safe level defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The city of Lanzhou said it is implementing the odd-even traffic measures for fear of an air quality index which exceeds 100 while the PM2.5 concentration exceeds 75 micrograms per cubic meter for three consecutive days.

An air quality index above 100 is considered unhealthy to sensitive persons, or those with breathing problems, such as asthma.

Source: Agencies