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Major Chinese City Restricts the Number of New Cars

Government officials in Guangzhou, China’s third-largest city, have enacted measures to limit the number of new cars on city streets, a policy some analysts say reflects a broader effort by Chinese cities to protect public health and well-being in the face of worsening highway congestion.

In Guangzhou, a city of 15 million people and a center for auto manufacturing, officials last week introduced license plate auctions and lotteries, a strategy that is expected to cut the number of cars by half, according to The New York Times.

While the restrictions will have short-term economic impacts, government officials say they could also help reduce air and water pollution, cut long-term healthcare costs, and alleviate the city’s notorious traffic jams.

“From the government’s point of view, we give up some growth, but to achieve better health for all citizens, it is definitely worth it,” said Chen Haotian, the vice director of Guangzhou’s top planning agency. Guangzhou’s efforts come as other major Chinese cities are requiring cleaner gasoline and diesel fuels, closing dirty factories, and removing older, more polluting cars from roads.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.