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Local govt sets good example by publishing letter of apology

China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-23 07:45

Local govt sets good example by publishing letter of apology

Vehicles run on the street near Xuanwumen amid the heavy smog in Beijing on Dec 8, 2015. [Photo/IC]

The government of Lanzhou, capital of northwestern China's Gansu province, published an open letter of apology after it introduced an odd-even car plate number ban to limit the use of vehicles as a measure to reduce air pollution during orange alerts. Yangtze Daily comments:

It has been a common practice of municipal governments to implement similar bans without providing any warning. Some of them even introduce the bans at midnight.

Of course, these measures mean to fight pollution and serve the interests of all. But they cause inconvenience to ordinary residents because they affect their daily lives. That's why the Lanzhou municipal government's move is a welcome one. By publishing the open letter of apology, it has shown it is sympathetic to people's needs.

The letter says the frequency of buses is to be increased and their hours of operation extended, so as to minimize the effect on residents. It also shows the Lanzhou municipal government plans to take comprehensive measures to fight air pollution.

Besides, it also promises to cancel the odd-even car plate number ban as soon as the orange alert for air pollution is lifted.

The odd-even plate number ban on cars has proven quite an effective tool for curbing air pollution because it significantly cuts the number of cars on the roads. But when a local government has to use it, that implies it has failed in past efforts to fight air pollution and is resorting to this as a last choice.

The Lanzhou municipal government has set a good example by apologizing for its failure, and its apology makes it easier for local residents to accept the fact. That's a good measure for improving governance.

Lanzhou is not the only city that faces the challenge of air pollution, and it won't be the only one that takes radical measures such as odd-even car plate number ban.

We hope other municipal governments will follow suit and try getting people's understanding if they have to take radical measures, too.

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