BEIJING, July 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng on Tuesday called for continued efforts to ensure a safe and successful Expo, as the event nears the second half of its six-month duration.
Despite the success of its first three months, organizers must still combat extreme weather conditions during the upcoming typhoon season to ensure food quality under persistent high temperatures, while reacting to new challenges in the coming months, said Han.
And while the city has benefited from the Expo in many ways, he added, Shanghai still needs to develop long-term mechanisms to sustain the positive effects.
"Thanks to the Expo, it is visible how much Shanghai has improved in its environment and urban management abilities," he said. "But we have to figure out how to normalize and sustain these positive changes."
Han said two-thirds of the 28 temporary circulars issued by the government during the Expo are likely to be turned into permanent local regulations as part of the efforts to sustain the Expo effect. These circulars cover a range of areas including public security, food quality and environmental protection.
The government is also considering using its economic advantages to complement legal means so the market mechanism would help with urban management. Take construction sites for example. Han said although many sites have been ordered to stop construction during the Expo to ensure smooth traffic flow and good air quality, after the ban expires there needs to be an economic incentive for construction units to raise their efficiency and shorten the working time in order to minimize their impact on people's lives and the environment.
"If we imposed fines on companies that failed to finish their construction projects within a certain period, then they would have an incentive to be really efficient in their job," he said.
The Expo has also highlighted the importance of the work of city cleaners, who will apparently need a pay raise in their salaries after the event finishes, Han added.
Han also said the government has been exploring more humane forms of urban management. In cracking down on illegal street peddlers who sell handicrafts like the folding stools, for instance, the government has endorsed the opening of several convenience stores around the Expo Garden, where similar products are sold cheaper and of better quality and attract the consumers, instead of simply stopping vendors from doing so.
Meanwhile, the mayor said the city is also faced with problems and pressures that need to be addressed with the utmost urgency.
He said Shanghai is faced with a critical task of limiting its energy use to within 6.5 million tons the equivalent of coal in order to have its carbon intensity per unit of GDP reduced by 20 percent as required in the 11th five-year plan.
But given the situation of the first half of the year, the pressure is "very high" in the second half. The city's GDP growth is also likely to slow down in the second half, he said.