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Cities Promote Green Campaign

More than 100 cities took part in the country's "Car Free Day" on Saturday in an effort to promoted awareness of "green travel".

The number of private cars on the roads dropped noticeably in most of the participating cities.

Beijing added 200 more buses to its fleet for the convenience of residents who left their cars at home.

In some of Beijing's downtown areas, private cars were forbidden from 7 AM to 7 PM.

Shanghai, Jinan, Fuzhou, Kunming, Changsha, and Taiyuan were cities that responded positively to the "Car Free Day".

"Since the day was meant to reduce pollution and traffic jams, some drivers gave it their support," Li Ming, a Beijing taxi driver, said.

In Fuzhou, capital of eastern Fujian Province, "Green Travel" banners were strung up on most of the busy streets to remind drivers of the campaign.

"Green travel is both the responsibility of the public and the government. Because the country's public transport system fails to meet the needs of the people, many are buying cars.

"The government must try to improve public transport to encourage people to make less use of private cars," Xu Doudou, head of the humanity institute of Fuzhou University, said.

Every September 22 is "Car Free Day" in many countries around the world.

Chengdu, capital of southwest Sichuan Province, was the first Chinese city to introduce "Car Free Day" on October 14, 2000. It resulted in a 37.5 percent drop in traffic accidents and a significant reduction in noise.

In Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, one of the major events held on Saturday was the Amity Trail Walk organized by the Amity Foundation and four non-governmental environmental protection organizations.

"We sponsored the walk in the hope that more people will be aware of the serious environmental problems we now face, and what we must do to keep the city clean and green," Qiu Zhonghui, secretary-general of the Amity Foundation, said.

About 1,500 people took part in the 5.2-km walk which took three hours to complete around Xuanwu Lake.

Speeches and pamphlets were handed out during the event, drawing the public's attention to a clean city.

The Nanjing city government over the past 10 years has given top priority to the development of public transport. It has earmarked 2 billion yuan (US$250 million) over the next three years to further improve public transport.

(China Daily / Xinhua News Agency September 24, 2007)

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- Beijing's Public Transport to Go Greener

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