Lanzhou to walk off pollution

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-17 10:59

So serious is the air pollution in Lanzhou, capital of Northwest Gansu Province, this winter that Mayor Zhang Jinliang has asked civil servants to walk to work on days when the pollution level is very high.

The local environment protection administration will map out a contingency plan for such days when the city needs to be saved from more automobile and industrial emissions.

Despite the best efforts of the local government and its people to improve the environment, Lanzhou remains one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world.

Smoke pours out of chimneys in Lanzhou. Pollution has combined with a cold front and dry weather conditions to aggravate already poor environmental conditions in the city. Cao Zhizheng

Gansu's capital sits in a valley, making the movement of wind very difficult. Slow wind speed, heavy vehicle emissions and a dry and dusty winter have worsened matters this year.

To prevent the situation from deteriorating any further, the local government issued a notice on January 8 banning the demolition of urban structures from November to March.

Lu Zhaowen, director of Pollution Control Section of Lanzhou Environment Protection Bureau, said on Tuesday: "Along with other measures, we suggested that civil servants walk to and from their offices on days when the pollution level is very high to reduce vehicle emission."

Regional development expert Guan Lianji attributed the grave situation to three main factors: heavy industrial emissions, use of coal as the main source of fuel and special geographic and climatic conditions of the city.

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