Government officials in Guangzhou, China have enacted measures to limit the amount of new cars allowed on city streets, in an apparent attempt to improve public health and lessen the extreme traffic congestion levels.
Guangzhou is China’s third-largest city, with a population of 15 million and a big auto manufacturing industry. The measures were carried out through license plate auctions and lotteries which, according to The New York Times, have the potential to cut the number of cars on the road in half.
Officials say they hope this limit on new license plates will cut down on air and water pollution, as well as resulting in lower healthcare costs. Traffic jams will also be reduced.
According to Chen Haotian, vice director of Guangzhou’s top planning agency, it is “definitely worth it” to give up a little bit of growth to achieve better health for all citizens. Many other cities in China are requiring cleaner fuels, closing polluting factories, and removing old, polluting cars from the roads, but this is likely the most extreme effort to clean up.
I could never see this happening in a city in the United States, especially the Motor City where I live, but if conditions got bad enough it wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see this become a serious option in a desperate attempt to improve public health and clean up our resources. If you don’t have your health or a stable environment, cars and other products become useless.
How would you feel if your city enacted a temporary ban like this? Do you think it would negatively affect the economy if people suddenly couldn’t drive, or is the public transportation system sufficient enough?
Image CC licensed by Fernando Numes: Guangzhou, China