Since 2005, the central government in Beijing has been awarding the title of “National Civilized City” to those cities that demonstrate the most progressive economic, social, intellectual, political and cultural development. This year, on February 28th, Zhongshan received this award for the fourth year in a row.
Among the recent developments in our fair town: an extensive, two-year project to replace and upgrade the sewer system. Now, this particular program may not sound very sexy to you, and it did cause the temporary closure of roads and rerouting of traffic, but the upshot is that this project will reduce pressure on the drainage system and help to flush away a lot of effluent that was collecting in the Qi Jiang River. Already the difference is starting to be seen and smelled.
There are also new express lanes for dedicated city buses, with a commensurate 50% discount for bus pass holders. This should help to reduce congestion on our city streets, which are becoming somewhat strained due to our increased prosperity and the attendant rise in the number of private vehicles in town. Another program that is slated to start this year is the introduction of a metro Skytrain monorail to help ease traffic and cut down on pollution at the same time. This is in addition to the 4000 public bicycles that can be found at electronic kiosks all over town.
We’re lucky to live in a green city, with some fine local parks that have seen the addition of four new nature areas in the last year. But that doesn’t mean we can get complacent, so we also have a new Zhongshan Go Green group (say that three times, fast) which is working hard to raise public awareness about the importance of picking up trash and liter and keeping the countryside clean. It’s a major challenge and it needs to start with everyone – foreigner and local alike – working together.
Here’s a big “shout out” to our friends at zsrenn.com. They’ve got a lot of essential and fun information about Zhongshan, and they’ll be posting regular updates from the Zhongshan Foreign Affairs Council for all you folks who are wondering what’s happening in our town. Check back with them often, and with Zhongshan Go Green to see how we can all pitch in and help.