Updated: 2012-05-09 08:06

(China Daily)

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Collective sustainability

People are aware of the environmental challenge the world is facing. It is time to start doing something. Here's what I think we should and could do now, in both individual and collective ways.

First, develop public transport to reduce the use of private cars. People's choice of transport is based on convenience, so if public transport is made convenient enough, people will start to choose it more. Once more and more people start taking buses, there will be fewer cars on the roads and the buses will run faster. The government could learn from the London congestion pricing system and charge fees for drivers in inner city zones.

Second, there are buses that run completely on natural gas in other countries. Compared with buses that run on petroleum, these buses reduce air pollution and the emissions of greenhouse gases and are more sustainable. Some taxis already run on natural gas, and buses should be gradually changed, too.

Third, the concept of recycling has been advocated for years, but it still has a long way to go to be part of people's everyday life. Therefore, I suggest putting separate recycling bins in every neighborhood. Recycling can reduce the cost of producing new products and the money spent on waste treatment, as well as the amount of land needed for landfill.

China has a long way to go to make its development sustainable. However, we can achieve it as long as individuals and government work together.

Sissi Ye, via e-mail

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(China Daily 05/09/2012 page9)