Solving the city's problems

By Liu Dong Source:Global Times Published: 2013-2-3 17:53:01

Delegates and members to this year's annual two sessions (the Shanghai People's Congress (SPC) and the Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) proffered opinions on a variety of subjects and suggested a range of sometimes controversial solutions to the city's problems. The two sessions ended at the weekend and the Global Times here presents some of the wide-ranging suggestions and comments from these policymakers and advisors.


Photo: CFP
Photo: CFP

Air pollution

Ding Kuiling, SPC delegate, the director of the Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences

The dirty thick smog that blanketed many cities across China has made people re-think the importance of environmental protection. The solution to the air pollution problem lies in the control of emissions. Because vehicle exhaust accounts for 25 percent of total air pollutants, we need to find cleaner sources of energy to replace the existing ones. Dimethyl ether (DME) can replace diesel and be used as a clean fuel for buses in Shanghai. The city should also expand the number of buses powered by electricity.

Cui Liping, SPC delegate, the deputy secretary of the Party Committee from the Shanghai Municipal Afforestation & City Appearance and Environmental Sanitation Administration

There are two ways to tackle the problem of air pollution in the city. We should control the emission of pollutants from the various sources, such as vehicle exhaust. We also need to create more green spaces, like public parks, because trees and plants play an important role in purifying air and will help improve the air quality in Shanghai. What we should constantly keep in mind is that we have to keep a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.


Yang Xin, SPC delegate, the associate dean of the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering at Fudan University

The pollution monitoring stations now cover all districts and county in Shanghai. They can record pollutants like PM2.5, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. The composition of air pollutants is very complicated. It is urgent that we improve the services of the monitoring stations by recruiting more professionals and upgrade the equipment so that they can detect pollutants and their sources more efficiently.

Wang Liqin, CPPCC member, table tennis player

Preventing pollution begins personally because it is everyone's business and it affects everyone. It's not empty talk or a mission impossible if we all take action. It begins in our daily lives like driving less, saving energy and having more moderate consumption.  

Zhou Tianping, CPPCC member and lawyer

The government should introduce laws to handle PM2.5 pollution. For example, vehicle exhaust is one of the major sources of PM2.5. Vehicles which discharge polluting exhaust should be banned. As far as I know, 10 percent of the vehicles in Shanghai are "yellow-plate vehicles," meaning their emissions are two to three times above the average. Laws should be introduced as soon as possible to get these vehicles off the roads.

Li Weiwen, CPPCC member and management officer of the Lujiazui Finance and Trade Zone 

In the World Expo 2010 period, Shanghai saw some very clean days which largely came about with the suspension of major construction works citywide. However, this stopped after the Expo ended. It was not difficult to see that the dust raised by construction work had a big impact on air quality. So it is vital to ensure strict supervision and environmental controls are introduced for construction sites in Shanghai, like upgrading dust-extraction equipment on construction sites as well as publishing real-time air pollution measurements from construction sites.

Jiang Weizhong, CPPCC member, professor of materials science at Donghua University

The major reason for the worsening air pollution in China is the rapid development of industry and transport which consumes large amounts of fossil fuel. We should decrease pollutants at the source and we should increase environmental protection consciousness, and save energy in our daily lives.

Gan Ping, CPPCC member, vice manager of the Commercial Cars Department at SAIC Motor Co

Emissions from vehicles are unlikely to diminish while the numbers of vehicles continue to escalate in China's cities. Moreover, the road infrastructure lags far behind the demand of the increasing number of vehicles in Shanghai. The traffic congestion in the city means vehicles travel slowly which keeps their engines discharging emissions at a high level.


Photo: CFP
Photo: CFP

Traffic jams and parking problems

Chen Bizhuang, SPC delegate, the deputy director of the Shanghai City Comprehensive Transportation Planning Institute

The government should make it mandatory for car owners to have a parking place before they buy a car. Would-be car owners should have to find a place to park before they consider buying a car. Another advantage of having a parking spot before purchasing a car is that the government could have a clearer idea of how many parking spaces are needed in an area instead of making pointless plans. 

Wu Jian, SPC delegate, partner at the Duan and Duan Law Firm

Shanghai has many old residential areas without any parking areas. With the improvement of the lives of local residents, they can afford to buy a car but are unable to find a place to park. I suggest that Shanghai build more automated elevator stack parking systems to solve the problems.

Che Jianxing, CPPCC member, board chairman of the Red Star Macalline Furniture Group

One of the major reasons of today's traffic jams in Shanghai is because too many resources are concentrated downtown. Most of the developed commercial centers, the best hospitals, schools, public facilities and government facilities are downtown, or inside the Inner Ring Road. So people have to come to the center of the city and this causes traffic congestion. The government could consider expanding the downtown area to the Outer Ring Road, and build several centers in the area between the Middle Ring Road and Outer Ring Road where a large number of people live. Then they don't have to rush downtown all the time and this would ease the congestion.

Tu Haiming, CPPCC member, the general manager of the Shanghai Hodoor Real Estate Development Co

Shanghai should continue to develop public transport especially in newly-built towns in suburban areas. As well as subways, comprehensive bus, bicycle and pedestrian systems should be planned together. Hong Kong has seen an increase of only 72,195 private cars over the past 10 years. Why? Because Hong Kong has a very comprehensive public transportation system, and 45 percent of the population live within 500 meters of subway stations, or other public transport. Also a specific public transport plan should take into consideration the population density of the areas involved. Shanghai learned a lesson about this with subway lines 5, 6 and 8 when large numbers of people moved into the areas along them but the lines were unable to match the demand.

Wu Yi, CPPCC member, deputy director of the Surgical Department at the Fudan University Shanghai Cancer Center 

Shanghai should charge congestion tolls in the worst areas. And vehicles with number plates from other provinces should not be allowed to drive on the Inner Ring Road at any time of the day or night.

Wu Gang, CPPCC member, the director of the Technology Transformation Department at the Shanghai Science and Technology Development and Communication Center

One of the most effective ways of easing congestion is to decrease the use of private cars downtown. I suggest increasing parking fees and limiting parking capacity downtown. And, I suggest gradually cutting down on street parking downtown to force drivers into using public transport.

Gan Xingdi, CPPCC member, professor at the School of Economics at Fudan University

We should develop more community buses to solve the "last one kilometer" problem, the distance between subway stations and residential compounds. This could also eliminate illegal bus operations as well as attracting more people to take public transport. But the intervals between buses should not be too long as this is inconvenient. Fares should be kept low and groups like students and disabled people should get discounts.


Frugality at meetings

Wu Mei, SPC delegate, the deputy director of the Fengxian Human Resources and Social Security Bureau

As a re-elected delegate, I've seen many changes from previous meetings of the annual Shanghai People's Congress. Tea breaks with snacks between discussion sessions have been stopped. Now there are only green and black tea bags, along with mineral water for delegates. In the hotel where we stay, there are no biscuits or fruit in the rooms. Generally speaking, this is a welcome change and I am impressed.

Qian Yiliang, SPC delegate, the vice president of the Shanghai Bar Association

It is a good practice to hold meetings in a budget conscious way. I hope it will stay this way from now on. For example, the organizers no longer give each delegate a copy of the documents from each meeting. Instead, delegates take one if they need it. The number of dishes we have during lunch has also been cut back. This is good because we are here to discuss issues concerned with Shanghai residents, not to eat extravagant meals.

Liu Zhenhua, SPC delegate, the vice section chief of the Shanghai Institute of Food Production Supervision

I am a newly-elected delegate. I think we could save a lot of paper during the meetings if we could read documents online instead of printing them out. I would also like to suggest that the organizers turn down the lights in the corridors and halls when we are in the meeting rooms to save electricity. 

Hu Wei, CPPCC member, the deputy director of the Shanghai Academy of Educational Sciences

We have made changes. At this year's meetings, there were no flowers or decorations in the halls and rooms. The meeting documents are no longer printed and given to every delegate, but anyone who wants them can pick them up and this stops waste. These little changes are a good start and must be continued.

Huang Farong, CPPCC member, professor at the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the East China University of Science and Technology

We should improve our institutions and use better supervision and management to restrict any consumption funded by taxpayers' money. To cut extravagance and waste, we can start by reducing meals and expenditure involving government meetings. 


Photo: CFP
Photo: CFP

Population policies

Wu Mei, SPC delegate, the deputy director of Fengxian Human Resources and Social Security Bureau

When we talk about family planning policies, we only think about controlling population growth. What we should think more about is how to improve prenatal and postnatal care to ensure the health of mothers and newborn babies. When they grow up, they should be getting a good education and then have suitable employment. Another problem related to family planning involves parents who lose their only child. Now is the time for the government to take measures to demonstrate more concern for them.

Ni Minjing, SPC delegate, the director of the Elementary Education Department at the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission

The population in Shanghai is aging. A problem related to this is the decreasing number of workers which will eventually affect economic growth. The problem is not so obvious because of the influx of migrant workers. I think it is time to encourage couples who meet the criteria to give birth to a second child. But changing family planning policies should occur step by step, so that the government can consider it carefully in case other problems arise.

Liu Maoya, CPPCC member, the director of the Cultural and Historical Records Committee of the CPPCC Putuo District Branch

To face the challenge of an increasing population, I suggest the government establish a special department to improve the management of population changes including global talents, migrant workers and city residents moving to suburbs.

Fang Rong, CPPCC member, a member of the Shanghai committee of the China Democratic League

Shanghai should introduce the concept of developments matching population. An important method can be by controlling real estate development. By reducing new residential real estate construction and reducing the secondhand housing market capacity, it can effectively adjust the population. I suggest the government should control the overall population by controlling real estate construction and basing this on the estimated maximum population of Shanghai and a per capita living area.

Ding Guanghong, CPPCC member, the director of admissions at Fudan University

I suggest any policy involving social welfare be introduced with a time frame. People who have lived in the city for different periods should be treated differently. This is a basic principle for the development of an international metropolis.


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