CHINA> Regional
Officials shun cars to save energy
By Qiu Quanlin (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-06-17 08:41

GUANGZHOU: Wang Yiyang is an advocate of saving energy.

But the deputy director of the Guangdong provincial government development and research center was unable to leave his car parked Tuesday during a day-long campaign to encourage government officials to travel by public transportation.

"I had to drive to work as my apartment is far from the office," Wang said.

Energy Shortfall Day, launched by the Guangdong provincial economy and trade commission, was aimed at improving government officials' awareness of saving energy and environmental protection.

Officials at all levels were encouraged to take public transportation to work, minimize power consumption by shutting off some elevators, air conditioning and lighting, and reduce paper consumption for the entire day Tuesday.

Some officials, unlike Wang, did leave their vehicles at home, but not without inconvenience.

A government worker surnamed Chen, from the Guangdong provincial economy and trade commission, had to get up earlier than usual to take a bus to work.

She wanted to ride a bicycle to work, but bike riding is forbidden along the road from her home to the office, she said.

"I used to ride a bicycle to school when I was studying in England. Why does the government not encourage us to travel by bike in order to save energy?" the 27-year-old government worker told China Daily.

Life and work will be much more inconvenient when energy is in short supply, Chen said.

"But saving energy is not an act just for one day. Not only governments but all social sectors should work together to develop an energy-saving environment," Chen said.

Traffic moved more quickly and smoothly Tuesday in the provincial capital city of Guangzhou, with fewer government vehicles on the roads.

The move was widely supported by the majority of participants, with many claiming they would become more environmentally friendly on an ongoing basis by driving their cars less and minimizing the use of air conditioning and lighting at work.