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Decade of efforts to keep Hangzhou’s skies blue

Hangzhou has traditionally been known as boasting the beauty of heaven on Earth. And the city’s authorities have been working hard to make sure Hangzhou lives up to that reputation by cleaning up the air.

Clean water and a clear blue sky are must-haves for a city with tourism as a pillar industry. To clean up the environment, the city’s government has deployed modern technology, for example, replacing diesel buses with electric buses.

Hangzhou has been replacing the buses since 2008. Now 22,000 new energy buses have been deployed on 90 percent of the bus routes in Hangzhou. That puts Hangzhou in the vanguard of green energy transportation development.

Hangzhou is listed as China’s first electric vehicle cities. The increasing number of electric cars might be the signal of the readiness of the consumer for the new technology, which in turn might be the future of China’s urban transportation.

“The local government has issued a five-year plan to promote green energy vehicle development. By 2020, Zhejiang province will have three to five green energy vehicle enterprises with more than 60 billion yuan annual revenue each,” said Lei Rong, manager of Saic-Wanxiang Green Bus Company.

Air quality control is one of the local government’s top priorities. In 2014, it issued a work plan targeting fumes from coal burning, industrial waste, vehicle emissions and other pollution sources.

“We have different targets for environmental protection every year. For example, in 2016 we have to monitor over 800 projects in five major categories. The PM2.5 index had decreased to 53.6 micrograms per cubic meter by the end of July,” said Chen Jiansong, director of Environmental Protection Bureau, anti-pollution sector.

Hangzhou’s crystal clear blue sky is good for tourism, and it is also a result of the government’s effort to balance environmental protection and city development.