For anyone living in central North China, CCT wishes you all the best with your respiratory issues. At least the plucky central city of Shi Jia Zhuang is looking to counter the issue with a relatively radical solution: ban cars from going on the roads at peak times.
Northern China has been engulfed in gradually worsening smog for days. Many areas have seen pollution alerts being issued three times. The capital of Hebei province, Shijiazhuang, has decided to take action by imposing strict traffic control measures.
A warning board at one of the major highway ramps into Shijiazhuang city. Traffic police are telling drivers to turn around if their car plates end with the numbers 1 or 6.
“Hello sir. Shijiazhuang city is on a second level emergency response. Your car plate is forbidden from entering the city.” Wang Lei, deputy director of Yudong Traffic Police Station, said.
“Oh, I have just seen it.”
“You need to turn around and drive out of the third ring road.”
“I didn’t know. I didn’t listen to the radio.”
“You could turn around at the traffic light up ahead. The traffic camera will take your picture if you keep going.”
“All right, thank you.”
“Today is Sunday and many schools are open, so there are more cars than we expected. We’ve now turned 200 cars back.” Wang said.
The move to limit the number of cars according to license plates is expected to have a very visible effect as much on the air as on the roads.
“Shijiazhuang counts nearly 700 thousand motor vehicles. The restriction could slash that number by 30%.” Yu Yingjie, deputy director of City Police Transportation Bureau, said.
Traffic police have set over 500 check points in the city to dissuade people from using their cars. Although many people are still unaware of the restriction, most are willing to cooperate.
“It’s a little inconvenient, but I think it’s good for the air quality.” A Shijiazhuang Driver said.