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Blue-fume cars to be banned in city center

SHANGHAI plans to expand its downtown ban on heavily polluting cars and trucks in a move that is expected to dramatically cut vehicular emissions.

The campaign is designed to help clean up inner-city air in advance of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo and is also part of the city's efforts to be declared a national model city for environmental protection.

The Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau said yesterday that the measure is expected to be implemented next month.

Under the plan, all vehicles that do not meet national level I emission standards will no longer be allowed within a wide circle bound by the Middle Ring Road. Those vehicles are now banned within the Inner Ring Road area between 7am and 8pm.

There are now about 200,000 vehicles that do not meet even the nation's lowest emissions test. They account for 14 percent of local cars and trucks but generate 50 percent of all vehicular emissions.

About 66 percent of the nitrogen oxides, 90 percent of volatile organic compounds and 26 percent of particulate matter in the downtown come from vehicle exhaust.

Violators of the new rule will be fined 200 yuan (US$29) and be assessed two points on their driving records. (Drivers who accumulate 12 points have their license suspended.)

Police will be watching out for older vehicles and those emitting heavy smoke. Portable equipment will be used to test suspected offenders.

"Vehicle emissions are the major pollutants in the city's downtown," said Wu Qizhou, the environmental bureau's vice director. "The control of highly polluting vehicles means a faster drop in air pollution."

In addition to the expanded ban, city government is also planning incentives to encourage motorists to trade in their old cars and buy new ones meeting the national IV standard, equivalent to the second-highest standard in Europe. Details on the incentive will be revealed soon by city government, officials said.

Shanghai announced earlier that all new cars, buses and cleaning, trash and mail vehicles must meet the national IV standard starting on November 1. All new motorcycles must comply with the national III standard from July 1.

The quality of gasoline and diesel fuel will also be upgraded by the fall.

In addition, the bureau will carry out activities marking World Environment Day on June 5 to arouse public awareness about environmental protection.

A "Green Expo Guide" to direct environmentally friendly measures for construction, operation and management inside the Expo zone will be published on June 4.


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