From creating massive water cannons to smog sucking vacuum towers and even building a massive forest city, China has been striving hard to counter the scourge of air pollution that has plagued the country and its capital. Now for another initiative, China just announced a massive plan to replace Beijing’s 67000 gas-powered taxis with electric cars!
While many laud the government for the initiative, not everyone is happy with the decision. The enormous task of converting every gas taxi to an electric one is estimated to cost taxi operators almost $1.3 billion (9 billion yuan). The misery is piled up by the fact that electric vehicles in China currently cost around $20,000, twice the amount of a conventional car. There is also a chronic lack of charging stations in Beijing, where we saw around 200 electric taxis in 2014 waiting in lines of up to six hours at charging stations. All this points to the fact that the Government’s legislation is direly under-cooked and premature, to say the least.
Greenpeace reports that China has made significant improvements in its air quality during the aggressive “war on pollution”; but the smog is on the rise again “thanks to” the steelmaking industry going into overdrive to the south of Beijing. The smoke is dragged by the ever-shifting wind patterns to the north, making the air heavily smog ridden.
According to China’s Economic Daily newspaper,
“by 2020, China will have built a comprehensive modern transportation system that is safe, convenient, efficient and green.”
One thing with environmental pollution is that you can only halt it from getting worse and there are only a few steps which you can take to reverse the effects. This reason is probably why China is struggling to get rid of the notorious smog, even by opting for drastic and sweeping measures like introducing electric taxis without any infrastructure to support it!
What are your thoughts on China’s latest move towards “Going Green”?