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[NPC & CPPCC] PKU Voices series I

MAR . 10 2017
Peking University, Mar.6, 2017: “Individuals need to raise awareness and the government needs to take steps”, as to solving the problem of malaise, typical of big cities, said Tian Gang, CPPCC member and dean of School of Mathematical Sciences, Peking University.
Beijing has a large population of nearly20 million. The high population density is rare in the global scale and had naturally led to problems such as pollution and congestion, namely big city malaise.
“Vehicle restriction is an effective measure”, said Tian, “but there’s one thing that we might have neglected: to reduce the pollution and congestion of our city is the duty for everyone.”
Tian submitted a proposal two years ago, suggesting that the government taking measures to encourage people to buy cars equipped with smaller engines, and to take public transportation. “Sometimes I think the emission we produces pollutes the air, but eventually it harms ourselves”, said Tian. “Many like to drive big cars, whose emission, however, is several times higher than the small ones.”
In some European cities, such as Paris and Rome, people tend to drive smaller cars comparing with those in our domestic cities, thus makes their tailpipe pollution less. In Berkeley, California USA, whoever drives a high-emission vehicle will be reminded of the pollution it produced by others spontaneously. Meanwhile, hybrid cars, which are popular abroad, for various reasons, didn't became a heat focus in our country.
“To be honest, it’s unnecessary for people to buy cars to show off their status”, Tian said with a helpless smile. “It’s an issue of consumption views, which might be hard to be solved in a short period of time, but we need to promote the awareness of environmental issues consciously, especially among the youth.” He pointed out that there’s still possibility for pollution and congestion to be reduced, if everyone consciously participates.
Of course, to cure big city malaise, the government also has its responsibility. “The government may adopt effective policies, such as perfecting public transportation system and putting a levy on high-emission vehicles.”
Besides, in Tian’s opinion, pollution, congestion and waterlogging have a lot to do with unsound urban design. “Our roads rarely branch, which leads to a long distance-driving before people are allowed to turn. On one hand, it helps to keep the traffic flowing, but on the other hand, it’s time-consuming, and when it comes to traffic jams it’s easier to get stuck.”
Beijing International Center for Mathematical Research, where Tian works, uses the water system from the Old Summer Palace. When flood season arrives, the Center, including the underground garage, never get waterlogged. “It’s not difficult to solve the problem of waterlogging. We simply didn’t pay enough attention to it during the construction.”
In order to solve the problem of malaise, typical of big cities, itis essential that everyone plays a role and the government addresses the issue appropriately. Only with the effort from both sides can our city be more livable.
Written by: Zhou Yijing
Edited by: Wang Chengsiou