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Alex Pasternack

Alex Pasternack

Posted January 9, 2009 | 05:30 PM (EST)

Beijing to Drivers: Give Up Your Car, We'll Pay You $3,600


Beijing is so desperate to get high-polluting cars off the roads, the city has devised a scheme that will pay citizens as much as $3600 to give up heavily polluting vehicles -- and even give drivers more money to purchase cleaner cars.

The scheme by the environmental protection bureau is only one part of a massive plan to get Beijing's more than 350,000 high-polluting vehicles out of the city during 2009. China's capital has already banned cars from the roads on one of five weekdays based on their license plate number as part of a six-month trial that follows broader anti-traffic restrictions during the 2008 Olympic Games. The pay-off, say officials, is a 7 percent rise in blue sky days this year (although as we've mentioned, that statistic remains suspicious).

The initiative would take about 10 percent of the city's 3.5-million registered cars off the roads -- an amount that is estimated to account for 50 percent of the city's notorious vehicle pollution.

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