Here’s the good news: Shanghai is reportedly going to ban the use of heavily polluting vehicles between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. The restrictions will go into place starting February 15.
Here is the news that makes the good news seem a little less good: The restriction will only take place on the city’s inner-ring “elevated” roads, which makes it seem like all the heavily polluting vehicles will be forced to ground level … where we all walk and breath.
Here is he glimmer of hope that makes the good news seem good again: Starting October 1, the restrictions will apply to all inner-ring roads.
Here is where we link elsewhere because we don’t have the expertise to explain something: The city will be enforcing Euro I emissions standards. Next year, we might move up to the tougher Euro III. And by 2009, we’ll be up to Euro IV. More information on these standards can be found here.
Here is where we get all skeptical and stuff: How in the hell will they be able to enforce these regulations? Cars that pass the emissions tests will be given certificates and supposedly cars without these certificates will be “forbidden to enter” certain roads. How will they monitor this? Shanghai’s police barely have control over the streets as it is — and the number of cars in the city increases by 6,000 every month. When is the last time you saw someone get pulled over for running a red light?
Here is why none of this really matters anyway: The air we breath is going to get even more chunky in the years to come because of the 260 metro stations the city plans to build before 2010:
Small streets will be blocked, lanes will be restricted on major roads and noise and dust will fly in the affected areas …
The length of the Metro system will nearly quadruple by 2010. It took London and New York more than 100 years to build networks of the same length. Shanghai plans to do it in less than 20.
“The overall traffic situation over the next five years will be worse than in the past five years,” Bian Baiping, director of the Shanghai Urban Transport Bureau, told Shanghai Daily.
Here’s where we try to end the post with a message: Progress can be painful.
Image from fiendishthingies.com.